Green & Black's To Send 'Ambassadors' to D.R.


Kraft-owned Green & Black's Organic Chocolate is showcasing its Fair Trade Certification credentials with a new "Global Ambassadors" program.

The program will send 10 U.S. and U.K. residents to the Dominican Republic to assist the brand in helping the country's cocoa farming community. Participants will spend 14 days in the D.R. next spring, learning about the community and helping to build a gravity-fed water system to ensure consistent access to fresh, potable water.

Through Jan. 3, U.S. consumers can enter the competition by becoming a fan on the brand's U.S Facebook page, answering two essay questions, submitting a photo that highlights their support of a local cause, and expressing their interest in extending their assistance to the D.R. community. In addition to the trip, winners will be awarded $1,000 toward a local community-building cause of their choice.



Started in the U.K. in 1991 by organic food pioneer Craig Sams and journalist Josephine Fairley, Green & Black's earned the U.K.'s first-ever Fair Trade mark in 1994 for using cocoa purchased from Maya farmers in Belize for its Maya Gold chocolate bar.

The full Maya Gold line was already Fair Trade Certified in the U.S. as well as U.K., and Green & Black's has now completed the processes to achieve certification of 100% of the cocoa used for all of its products in these two major markets. (Because the company will use up existing packaging to avoid waste, the Fair Trade Certification label will be phased in on packaging over time.) The processes for certification on a global basis are also underway.

In the Dominican Republic, now the company's cocoa source for all but the Maya Gold line, Green and Black's has been buying from farming cooperatives for a decade, and is now committed to more than $485,000 per year over 10 years in Fair Trade premiums paid to the local farmers and their communities.

The new ambassadors program is "a true extension of Green & Black's marketing principles and philosophies" and the first formal initiative to enable consumers to directly experience "what a difference Fair Trade can make in the lives of a community," says Nicole McLaughlin, marketing director, U.S. chocolate, Kraft Foods.

The chosen ambassadors will be profiled on the brand's Facebook presence before and after the trip, and will be asked to keep a diary and post about their experiences during and after the trip. The brand is driving awareness of the ambassador program through advertising on Facebook and sites attracting consumers who are socially active, travelers and adventure-seekers, according to McLaughlin.

The brand's U.S. Facebook page, which has been active for about a month, has seen significant growth in fans since the ambassadors program began accepting applications two weeks ago, she reports. (As of Dec. 6, "likes" stand at nearly 29,000.)

Green & Black's, which will invest in various community development initiatives in the D.R. in 2011, envisions sponsoring the ambassadors program on an annual basis and extending participation to consumers in its other markets, such as Canada and Asia Pacific, McLaughlin says.

Green & Black's was sold to Cadbury Schweppes in 2005 for a reported £20 million, and acquired by Kraft as part of its Cadbury acquisition early this year. Green & Black's has annual retail sales of approximately £65 million ($102 million at current conversion rates), according to

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