01 February 2013

Be My Fair-Trade Valetine

If you're thinking of chocolate for V-Day, please think Fair Trade.

Last fall, Hershey finally made the commitment to stop buying cocoa beans from farms that use children, some of them slaves, to harvest the beans.  As of 2020.  Hershey was the last of the major manufacturers to agree to eliminate child labor.

That's seven more years of children being sold into slavery to pick cocoa beans by impoverished parents.  Eight, at the time they made the announcement.  Does it really take eight years to change the supply chain?

Fair Trade chocolate, on the other hand, guarantees a living wage for the farmers.  So they can send their kids to school rather than sending or selling them off to work in the fields.  Organic chocolate gets a premium price from the bottom of the supply chain, and allows even better financial conditions for the growers.

If you have a good health food store in your neighborhood, look for the Fair Trade label on the bar; bonus, buy chocolate that's both organic and fair trade.  Here's some more information about good fair trade chocolate.

It's a luxury.  We don't need chocolate.  We really have no excuse to buy the cheap stuff, knowing the labor practices it enables.

(Also: it's true, if you live in the Northeast US, you can't get local chocolate or coffee.  Something else to mull over.)