Indulge your sweet tooth for a good cause: REWE and PENNY are now selling “Very Fair” chocolate in their stores. What makes this private-label chocolate bar so special is that the cocoa it contains comes from a ground-breaking project with the Fanteakwa cooperative in Ghana and has a fully traceable supply chain. In addition to the Fairtrade bonuses and minimum prices, the cocoa farmers are paid a living income differential – an additional payment that ensures that the Fairtrade Living Income Reference Price for Ghana is met. In the current harvest season, this additional payment, calculated by Fairtrade, equates to around 15 per cent per tonne of cocoa and is key to achieving a living income for cocoa-growing families.
“Very Fair” private-label chocolate is Fairtrade-certified and bears the REWE Group’s PRO PLANET sustainability label. It is being rolled out across all 5,800 REWE and PENNY stores in Germany and is available in milk chocolate and salted caramel, dark chocolate and almond, and “dark milk and brownie flavours. The product’s QR code provides further information about the Ghanaian project.
Inadequate income is still one of the greatest problems for the cocoa sector, and simply paying a higher price for the cocoa is not sufficient to ensure a living wage for farmers and their families. In response to this, the REWE Group, Germany’s largest food retailer, embarked in 2019 on a joint project with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Fairtrade, designed to guarantee a living income within the cocoa sector. This joint project aims to significantly boost the self-sufficiency of Fanteakwa farmers within its first few years and to enable them to earn a living wage from farming.
The joint project takes a deliberately holistic approach: along with payment of the Fairtrade living income differential, it includes training sessions put on by the INA (Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains) and its local partners. This training focuses on more sustainable cultivation practices, ensuring that farms are run more efficiently, and improving management of the cooperatives. It also includes growing other crops, such as cashews, in order to create alternative sources of income for the farmers. Against this backdrop, the REWE Group joined the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew), which works to increase competitiveness along the cashew value-added chain in selected African countries.
As a founding member of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, the REWE Group has been campaigning for certified cocoa production and supporting cocoa farmers in the growing regions for years now, including through its involvement in the PRO PLANTEURS project. The REWE Group’s guidelines for cocoa production define standards for improving conditions in the cocoa sector and targets for converting to sustainably certified sources. In Germany, all of REWE and PENNY’s private-label chocolate products, instant hot chocolate, hazelnut-chocolate spread, and biscuits are already Fairtrade or part of the Fairtrade Cocoa Programme. In recognition of its long-standing commitment to fair trade, the REWE Group received the Fairtrade Award in 2020 for the second time.
In March 2021, the REWE Group was also rated top food retail company by the environmental organisation Mighty Earth’s 2021 Easter Chocolate Shopping Guide, which compared transparency and sustainability in the cocoa supply chains of 36 international food retailers. The REWE Group was rated as the industry leader in the Contribution to Best Practice, Due Diligence, Living Income, Deforestation and Climate, and Agroforestry categories.