Chocolate Labour Conditions / Fair Trade Question 7

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Does the brand (company) have a policy for the use of fairtrade certified or otherwise 'responsible' sugar?

  • Dutch Question: Heeft het merk (bedrijf) een beleid voor het gebruik van fairtrade gecertificeerde, of anderzins 'verantwoorde' suiker?
  • German version: Bezieht der Markenhersteller Zucker von sozial zertifizierten Plantagen, auf denen bspw. keine Kinder, Menschen unter Zwang oder Sklaven arbeiten, ein zum Leben ausreichendes Gehalt gezahlt wird und faire Arbeitszeiten sowie Vereinigungsfreiheit zugestanden werden?


The production of sugar is not always sustainable. According to WWF and Fairfood, cane sugar production also causes a range of social issues, such as low prices, child labour and development problems as it is difficult for farmers in developing countries to compete. Also, jobs in the sugar cane production are among the most hazardous in the agricultural industry. An example in the WWF report mentions the case of the northwest of Brazil where sugarcane workers have the lowest life expectancy of any group and their children the highest infant mortality rate.

To improve the sustainability of sugarcane production on the mainstream level, there is the multi-stakeholder Better Sugarcane Initiative, where businesses and NGO's work together to set a standard and as a second step to certify 'sustainable' sugar cane. The project is comparable to the soy and palm oil sectors, where the first 'certified' sustainable palm oil is available on the market. Also Fairtrade sugar is already available.

Answering Guidelines

You can reward a ‘Yes’ to a company that describes goals (e.g. ‘buy certified sugar in 2011'), or actions (e.g. ‘intentions to use an X amount of sugar by 20XX) and outcomes (‘amounts of sustainable sugar used’). For this question, the range of actions is not measured, so any small policy or action is counted as ‘Yes’. Please mention in the remark section where you found the information to support your answer.

Answer ‘Yes’

  • The [brand/company] has taken several policy measures on using socially certified sugar, such as [link/page].
  • The brand only sells 100% Fairtrade products, meaning that also the sugar is Fairtrade certified.
  • The brand uses sugar certified according to fairtrade or comparable certification
  • The brand claims that sugar is only sourced from low risk production countries.

Answer ‘No’

  • [brand] explicitly says not to (have plans to) use socially certified sugar.

Answer ‘?’

  • [brand/company] aims to (e.g. decrease social inequalities or working conditions in the sugar sector), but does not provide any clear [policy] for using socially certified sugar.
  • [brand/company] does not communicate any policy on using socially certified sugar on its website. Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.