This year, we went Fair Trade for Halloween. That means that the chocolate we handed out was ethically produced.
While you won’t see many articles about it, cacao is an agricultural product that uses child slave labor in the fields. Just search for “chocolate slave labor” and you’ll read all about it.
Start with this article from CNN. The journalists document that “child labor, trafficking and slavery are rife in an industry that produces some of the world’s best-known brands.”
So, with a small effort to help make the world a better place, we buy Fair Trade/fairly traded products whenever we can. Especially for Halloween, we don’t want to give kids chocolate that enslaves other kids.
Equal Exchange chocolate is a producer/packager of chocolate, cocoa, coffee and tea, supporting small-scale farmers and their families in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.
All of the products are organic as well as fairly-traded. The company motto: “Small Farmers, Big Change.”
WHY FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE
Fair Trade ensures that farmers are paid fair value for their beans. In more than a few situations, brokers buy up crops for less than it costs to produce them, keeping small farmers in an endless loop of poverty.
Fair value affords money for adult labor (enabling the farmers’ children to go to school instead of working in the fields), a minimum standard of living and sound agricultural practices that protect both workers and the environment.
This issue impacts mass-marketed chocolate brands. In the case of the expensive gourmet chocolate, the chocolate makers are already paying top dollar to the best farmers (those fortunate to have the land in the areas that produce the best beans) to secure the limited supply of the world’s finest cacao (so you can feel good about paying $6.00 or more for that chocolate bar).
“Fair Trade” is a trademarked term authorized by TransFair USA, a nonprofit organization that audits transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified™ products and the international suppliers from whom they source. TransFair is one of 20 members of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). Read more on the issues of Fair Trade.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAIR TRADE & “FAIRLY TRADED”
Only products certified by TransFair USA can use the trademarked term, “Fair Trade.” Products certified by other organizations must call themselves “fairly traded.”
EQUAL EXCHANGE HOLIDAY GIFTS
If you want to buy products that are ethically sourced, Equal Exchange and other producers are more than happy to provide them.
Equal Exchange has candy bars for stocking stuffers, boxes of minis (single bites of chocolate) for those who like to nibble and tins of cocoa, along with tea, coffee and gift baskets.
Shop online at Shop.Equal.Exchange.com.
And spread the word about Fair Trade.
Equal Exchange’s fairly traded, organic candy bars. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.