This post builds on our Valentines Day post from last year: Beyond the Sexy Consequences of Giving Flowers for Valentine’s Day.
It’s Valentines Day. Before you present that fancy-looking box of chocolates to your love, ensure there’s a fair trade logo on the package. With chocolate supply chain concerns becoming more mainstream, it’s likely your special someone has read an article, scanned a blog post, watched a news story or catchy You Tube video outlining the ethical and ecological concerns in this industry.
Take for example an article running in this weekend’s Globe and Mail that covers the status of cocoa production in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s two largest producers of cocoa. According to the article, both countries are on a path to “ecological implosion”. Forests are being cut down to make room for more crop land, existing tree stocks are aging, soil is depleting, temperatures are rising and rainfall has become erratic. Add to this concerns of child labour and you have one very un-sustainable and un-ethical product.
Fair Trade Cocoa
One way to remove the exploitive elements of chocolate from your gift is to buy official fair trade certified products. Doing so provides you with the assurance the cocoa production was independently monitored to ensure farmers received a reliable and living wage for their work. Fair trade also encourages sustainable farming.
Cocoa lends itself well to fair trade. It’s one of the few global commodities grown predominantly by small holders on plots of three acres or less. By meeting fair trade standards, small producers receive a higher price for their crops. Through additionally organizing into co-operatives, they can benefit from social premiums associated with fair trade projects to invest back into their communities for schools, roads and other initiatives.
Innovative Fair Trade Resources
To help you make the right decision this year, we’ve collected together a number of innovative fair trade chocolate resources.
- The Good Guide, a product rating database for health, environment and social impacts, recently announced a partnership with Fair Trade USA around their new chocolate rating category. Available through a smart phone app, the Good Guide can be referenced from the store aisle. Check the rating on that box of chocolate before you purchase it.
- If you’re looking to step outside the box this Valentine’s Day, take a look at this green gift guide from Treehugger.com. Set-up as a slideshow, the
guide highlights gifts that are “useful, thoughtful and – best of all – sustainable”. View the gift guide HERE.
- We were impressed with this fantastic infographic from Ethical Ocean which outlines the status of fair trade chocolate and its benefit to world producers. View the infographic HERE.
- Finally, for fans of flowers, we suggest you review our Valentine’s Day post from last year: Beyond the Sexy Consequences of Giving Flowers for Valentine’s Day. If you’re from the Vancouver-area, our kind readers have recently listed a few options for purchasing local, sustainable flowers in the comments section.