Have Cadbury’s values been compromised?

April 28

As Kraft apologises for its u-turn over jobs at a Cadbury's factory in Somerdale, consumers could be forgiven for wondering whether the US food giant's buyout of Cadbury's marks the end of an era of values driving the British company.

Head of Global Corporate Responsibility at Cadbury, Alison Ward will be expecting to answer that and other questions at a business seminar in Belfast next week. Organised by Business in the Community as part of its Knowledge Networks events series sponsored by Energia, Alison will be keynote speaker at an event entitled 'Competitive Advantage from CSR - Gaining Value from your Values'.

Cadbury is hailed by many as the company that started the whole movement towards corporate social responsibility and in the 186 or so years since it was founded in Birmingham, the company has stayed true to its founding principles based on social benefit. 

In 2009 the company introduced Fair Trade chocolate into its operations and in 2008 launched a CSR website called Dear Cadbury that offers a model of transparency and openness to stakeholders on the company's commitment to doing business in a responsible way.

The hostile takeover by Kraft at the start of this year has led to much speculation about what the future holds for Cadbury and whether the brands and indeed the Cadbury name can retain the value and respect that are associated with it under the new ownership.

Director of Marketing and Communications at Business in the Community, Gillian McKee said: "Cadbury's is a fascinating company for anyone interested in corporate social responsibility and the Kraft takeover has put it more firmly than ever in the limelight - so far, not for the right reasons.  Businesses here are keen to know how they can learn from the Cadbury model and build their company or their brand on their values. 

"There will also be an opportunity to hear from a home grown company that has based its products and marketing on ethical and sustainability factors. The Good Little Company makes healthier sausages with a direct sales link to providing food in the third world through Christian Aid. They will be presenting a case study at the Knowledge Networks event and provide an inspirational example of how small companies can do their bit and benefit from taking a responsible approach."

As sponsor Energia have been trailblazers in the Irish energy market and come from a 4 person operation in 1999 to over 150 employees today with a turnover in excess of €1bn.  This journey has been fascinating and Chief Operating Officer Tom Gillen's views on the company's role in CSR are noteworthy."

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