Green and Black's

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Organisation's background

Green & Black's was founded in 1991 by Craig Sams and his wife Josephine Fairley. They have been recognised as the first organisation to gain the Fairtrade logo for their organic chocolate. The Maya Gold bar is the only bar to gain fairtrade status while all their other bars are organic. They have continued to increase their range of dark chocolate, as well as branching into other produce. They state that they are the first fairtrade company and that their practices reiterate the ethical message linked to the fairtrade logo and to that of organic ingredients. "We offered to trade direct with the growers, paying them a premium for their organic cocoa and an additional Fairtrade price." [1]

The main products which they sell include:

  • Chocolate
  • Biscuits
  • Ice cream
  • Beverages (such as hot chocolate)
  • Baking products (Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate)

Nearly all of the products are chocolate or chocolate based.

The company itself started off small and has grown and developed as society has increased its knowledge and desire for ethical consumption. More and more people are looking for healthier, organic and fairly traded products which not only satisfys their needs but which also support their beliefs. Consumption is developing into more than just the buying of a product; it is increasingly becoming about where a product comes from, how it is made and the company's own beliefs on important issues. Green & Black's has tried to encompass this new trend and highlight its ethical stand point. All its products are organic and its earthy coloured packaging helps them to emphasise their point to the consumer.


Staff include:

William Kendall is the chief executive for the company along with: Nick Beart as financial director and Henry Tinsley and Andreas Hoffman as directors.

Changes in ownership

Considering all the emphasis Green and Black's put on their ethical importance and the small style orientation of the company it seems extremely hypocritcal that they sold themselves to a large multinational company. Green & Black's were bought over by Cadbury's in May of 2005. This had a great impact on the percieved meanings and values of the company. After all, Cadbury's is a big multinational which is after profit and not what is best for the wider world as a whole, their main aim is to keep the shareholders happy by increasing their revenue. "Some supporters of Fairtrade have been shocked that the foundation is prepared to work with multinationals, which often are seen as being guilty of unfair trade practices." Template:Ref/TimesButler. Due to the increased demand for ethical and organic produce Cadbury's believed that it was in their best interests to become part of this movement. It also meant that any competition which they might have had was eliminated. Cadbury's has agreed to let the company run as a stand alone company and will only help facilitate the sale and distribution of the product throughout different regions. However, this new turn of events equals a take over by a big corporation and therefore a feeding of their beliefs down through the company. They will have the power to enforce a different type of thinking in order to gain money, leading to the helping and endorsing of local farmers and products falling further down on the list of priorities. BBC news state that, 'Green & Black's is the fastest-growing confectionary brand, with 5.1% of the UK market for black chocolate.' [2]. This highlights the importance of this deal to the future of fairtrade and those which it involves, in particular the farmers.

There has been a number of complaints and worries about the future of the company due to its change in ownership. Green & Black's itself have tried to back up their selling by stating that, "Our experience of large organisations is that they are usually very aware of the big issues facing them. They have active shareholders and employees who keep them on their toes and we know that some of Green & Black?s most passionate customers happen to be employees of Cadbury Schweppes." [3]. The fact that William Kendall the Chief Executive had to post an extensive message on the website to try and back up the reasons for selling to Cadbury's and why that was supposedy in the best interest of the farmers, consumers and company highlight the discontent felt by large numbers of those who supported the company to begin with.

"In the deal with Cadbury Schweppes, worth about £20million, the small-scale chocolatier will be absorbed into a global portfolio of mainstream products, from chocolate bars to Dr Pepper soft drinks." [4]

Fairtrade goods have become more popular as people are made aware of ethical consumerism and where exactly the food they buy comes from. "Some £63m of Fairtrade foods are sold annually, an increase of 90% within the past two years."[5] Cadbury's has seen this expanding market and the opportunities it brings and has bought a large share in it in order to keep up with the changing tides of consumption. This is the real reason for their interest in the company and is not a move which they made in order to help strengthen the Fairtrade messge. The bottom line is that Cadbury's wanted a share of the company due to the monetary gains they foresaw from such a move.

It seems far fetched that a company owned by a big multinational company which blatanly states its profit making aims, often at the detriment of smaller fimrs, the environment and communities, can back the message which Green & Black's trys to put across.

Behind the Fairtrade Image

With the rise of ethical purchasing has come the ability for companies like Green & Black's to manipulate the system. People think that they have to pay over the odds for such produce in order to give the farmers in developing countries the ability to get a proper wage. This idea is more than fair if it is properly put into practice. However, if only one of the bars which Green & Black's sell is fairtrade they are duping consumers into paying extra for their other bars. The Maya Gold bar which is organic and fairtrade costs the exact same as a bar which is only organic. This may lead to the question of why the other bars are so expensive. It is made out that by paying extra the farmers are going to be the main group which gain from it. However, very little of this goes to the farmer as stated below.

"From each bar of Maya Gold chocolate, retailing at £1.60 in the UK, a Toledo farmer will receive roughly 6p. The cocoa mass may be 55%, but the cocoa cost is nearer to 4%. When it comes to international trade, "fair" is a relative term." [6]

The emphasis of Green & Black's chocolate is on organic ingredients and not fairtrade. If there were able to make one bar fairtrade then surely they should be able to do the same with others. Therefore, although they may be safe in the knowledge that most of their ingredients are organic it does not take away from the fact that they are still supporting the unfair trade rules which have been put in place by the rich and powerful in order to dominate the more vulnerable.

Therefore, not only are the bars which are actually fairtrade not giving the farmers a proper deal in relation to the sales and sharing of finances but money is also being gained from bars which are not even fairtrade. What is often not highlighted is that although their chocolate may be organic only one type of bar is Fairtrade. They have hidden under the label of organic and made one bar fairtrade in order to get people associating their produce with the fairtrade movement. It highlights the fact that consumers are being duped into believing that the company are more than what they say they are. It raises questions about why, if they are such avid supporter of Fairtrade, they are not making more of their bars Fairtrade. It seems to be that they have clicked onto the fact that they can have the Fairtrade bar as their gimic and get away with bending the rules for their others bars. It underlines the fact that their strong views are maybe not as strong as they make out to their customers.

External Links

Cadbury's gobbles up organic rival

A message from William Kendall

Snack attack as Cadbury wolfs down organic chocolate firm,,2-1610184,00.html

Counting Beans,3605,1276788,00.html#article_continue