Whittaker’s has announced that through a new partnership, its entire range of 116 products that are crafted with Ghanaian cocoa beans is 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified. Whittaker’s Chocolate Lovers will start to see the distinctive Rainforest Alliance frog seal on its packaging, reflecting this extension of its commitment to ethical sourcing.

Whittaker’s previously had Fairtrade certification for its two top-selling products, 5-Roll Refined Creamy Milk and 72% Dark Ghana 250g blocks. These blocks will be some of the first products to feature the new packaging with the Rainforest Alliance seal.

Matt Whittaker, Whittaker’s co-Chief Operating Officer, said given that Whittaker’s sources all of the cocoa beans we use from Ghana, apart from a small amount of specialty beans from Samoa and Nicaragua, it was important to us that extending our commitment to ethical sourcing would have the biggest impact for our farmers in Ghana.

“The Rainforest Alliance model means the significant additional investment we’re making in using only 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified Ghanaian cocoa beans benefits cocoa farmers in Ghana specifically, complementing our other initiatives to build direct relationships with the farmers we buy cocoa beans from," said Whittaker.

“This includes our regular visits to the two cocoa cooperatives in Ghana that we source beans from, as well as the work we’re doing closer to home with cocoa farmers in Samoa under Whittaker’s Cocoa Improvement Programme.

“These initiatives are another step forward in our journey to deliver on our commitment under the World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa & Forests Initiative to full traceability of all the cocoa beans we purchase by 2025."

Rainforest Alliance is an NGO that, like Fairtrade, provides independent third party certification to ensure cocoa farmers follow strict standards for sustainable agriculture, which is important given the ongoing environmental and social challenges that need to be addressed in the global cocoa supply chain.

Holly Whittaker, Whittaker’s co-Chief Operating Officer, said Whittaker’s wants to acknowledge and thank Fairtrade NZ for the relationship we have had with them over the past 10 years that we have had Fairtrade certification for 72% Dark Ghana and 5-Roll Refined Creamy Milk 250g blocks.

“Both Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance are working towards the same goals that we share of improving conditions for cocoa farmers and protecting the environment, and we’re excited to see what we can achieve in our new partnership with Rainforest Alliance in Ghana specifically,” said Holly Whittaker.

Whittaker’s is in the process of changing packaging across its entire range to include Rainforest Alliance’s distinctive frog seal. While Whittaker’s Chocolate Lovers will start to see the Rainforest Alliance seal appear on Whittaker’s 250g blocks soon, changes to packaging across the rest of the range are being made progressively as existing packaging stock is used-up, minimising unnecessary waste.

“This announcement of our commitment to 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa is a major milestone and gives us a great platform to build on over time to achieve the other goals we’ve set ourselves under our comprehensive, phased sustainability-focused ‘Good Honest Chocolate’ programme,” said Whittaker.

Whittaker’s wider ‘Good Honest Chocolate’ programme includes initiatives to achieve full traceability of cocoa, to reduce factory waste, and to transition to robust and genuinely sustainable packaging for all of Whittaker’s products, with a major review and testing of innovative packaging options already well underway.