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Cadbury Makes Corporate Social Responsibility A Sweet Thing

Cadbury who has been around for generations and makes 500+ products (I’m an “unofficial product tester”) held a launch event in Toronto last week for a new promotional program called The Bicycle Factory where they want to send up to 5,000 bicycles to Ghana, Africa.  This is the first time Cadbury has launched this type of initiative which has started to create quite a bit of internal buzz and attention throughout other divisions of Cadbury across the world as Gary Scullion, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Cadbury Canada shared with me.

Consumers are encouraged to visit www.thebicyclefactory.ca and enter the UPC code from purchased Cadbury products and every UPC code will equal a bicycle part and Cadbury will build a bicycle for ever 100 UPC codes enterered by consumers.

“We have been rooted in the African community for over 100 years and today we are as committed as ever to give access to everyday social and economic services we take for granted,” says Luisa Girotto, Vice President Corporate Affairs, Cadbury North America. “In Africa, a bicycle can mean access to clean water, medical care and education. Through The Bicycle Factory program we can improve overall mobility and therefore livelihood and we know Canadians will be empowered to help us realize our goal.”

There is also a contest element to the promotion as one Canadian will be selected to be an ambassador and travel with the Cadbury team to Ghana to deliver the 5,000 bicycles in October 2009.

Overall this is a smart way for Cadbury to give back to a community they have a vested interest in as Cadbury relies on the cocoa that comes from the local farms in Ghana, but it goes beyond that as the employees genuinely care about the work they are doing and this campaign gave them a chance to show that.  John Cadbury was once quoted as saying “I want to be a force for good in a troubled world” and campaigns such as this allow the team in Canada to not just recite the words of the company Founder, but also “walk the talk.” According to Michael Lent, Activist and Founder of Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) bicycles are used in multiple ways from basic transportation to ambulances to transport the sick from their homes to a hospital that could be miles away.

“In Africa, a bicycle is hope, freedom and survival,” says  Linke. BEN Namibia distributes bicycles to community-based organizations, volunteers and directly to those in need. “A single bike can carry up to five times the weight, go four times as fast and travel four times as far as a person walking and it can change a person’s life and a community’s future.”

According to the United Nations, more than 40 million African children are growing up without schooling. Access is a key barrier to school attendance and school children commonly walk for two hours a day, in harsh conditions, to attend school. In a poor African community, access to a bicycle means greater independence and increased social, economic and educational opportunities.

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