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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fair Trade Fortnight: Chocolate

We have found that Fairtrade chocolate is by far the easiest Fairtrade item to get excited about! Aside from the obvious- that chocolate is amazingly great- it's also fairly easy to purchase Fairtrade chocolate.

Chocolate is the kind of product that many people claim they 'cant live without'. What used to be a luxury product which only the rich could afford is now something which kids can buy with their pocket money.

Oxfam (NZ) has estimated that  
"More than 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa is grown in tropical West Africa, where over 10 million people are dependent on cocoa farming for their income.
Historically, Chocolate- or Cacao, as the raw product is called- comes from South and Central America.
It was the Spanish that took it to Europe and consequently set up colonial plantations in Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lankand other countries where Cacao was not traditionally grown. This was at a time when slavery was rife and acceptable. Slavery was abolished in England 1838, USA 1865, and prohibited internationally in 1926 by the slave convention. Despite this, according to the International Justice Mission (IJM) there are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today which is more than in any other time in history. Many of these slaves still work on cocoa plantations. Fairtrade isn't specifically about stopping slavery though- there are many fantastic organisations which do outstanding work in this area.
The Fairtrade association (international) do state that they are:
 "building partnerships with leading international development organizations specializing in projects on location to protect children from the worst forms of child labour. 
ICCO, which is the International Cocoa Organisation* has stated in their International Cocoa Agreement of 2010 that
"Members shall give consideration to improving the standard of living and working conditions of populations engaged in the cocoa sector, consistent with their stage of development, bearing in mind internationally  recognized principles and applicable ILO** standards. Furthermore, Members agree that labour standards shall not be used for protectionist trade purposes."
Fairtrade cocoa allows the cocoa farmer to make a good living as the fair trade standards include a minimum price. For those who love graphs, here's a good one which shows the difference between fair trade and the New York Market prices: "

Where to buy:
Several manufacturers in NZ produce Fairtrade chocolate. 
- All Scarborough Fair products are fair trade including their chocolate range and are available in supermarkets
Similarly Trade Aid products are all fair trade but are mainly available in Trade Aid stores.
- Candbury's 'Dairy Milk' range is fair trade (but not their other flavours - check for the fair trade logo) 
- Whittakers 'Creamy Milk' range is fair trade (but not their other flavours - check for the fair trade logo)

The great thing about fair trade chocolate is that usually (at least in the case of Candbury and Whittakers) it does not cost any more; and as there is no fair trade palm oil, it will taste better too.

* ICCO is composed of both cocoa producing and cocoa consuming countries with a membership. 
** International Labour Organisation run by the UN and is an international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards.


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