Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and chocolates are on my shopping list. If and when I do buy chocolates for the family, I make every effort to choose Fair Trade certified. I haven’t always bought Fair Trade chocolates in the past. In fact, I didn’t even know about Fair Trade until a few years ago. Now, I prefer chocolate brands that support this business practice.
What does Fair Trade mean1
- Raw materials are harvested in an ethical manner with fair working conditions
- No forced child labor or slave labor
- Farmers and farming groups receive fair prices and credit
- Direct trading with producer groups to eliminate middlemen
- Support environmentally sustainable practices
There are many reasons to buy Fair Trade certified. These are my top three.
Fair treatment. For me, it’s about using my voice, in this case my money, to let companies know that I want people to be treated fairly. Fair Trade is an alternative to conventional trade that promotes a partnership between producers and consumers. As a consumer, I like knowing that I am helping farmers and growers better their life and get out of poverty-stricken situations. The aim of the Fairtrade Standards is to balance the inequality of power in trading relationships, unstable markets, and abuses of conventional trade.2
Support of community. Fair Trade Premium, an additional sum of money above Fair Trade price, is given back to farmers and workers to improve the communities where they live and work. Fair Trade Premiums have increased access to education (built schools, provide school supplies, pay for tuition, and set up scholarship), given community members access to healthcare, empowered women through opportunities in leadership and education, and improved infrastructure (roads).1
Environmentally safe practices. Fair trade cacao farmers use natural farming systems that protect forests (i.e. use shade of forest canopy instead of clear cut field).3 Fair Trade prices allow farmers to protect forests and keep lands they own instead of selling them to big plantations to be clear cut. General environmental protections of Fair Trade include protection of water resources, promotion of agricultural diversification, proper waste management, encouragement of organic farming practices, restrict use of agrochemicals, and prohibit use of GMOs.1,3
If you’re interested in learning more about where the chocolate you eat come from, The Dark Side of Chocolate is a documentary to watch. It’s certainly eye-opening. If you want to support fair practices, I suggest you look for the Fair Trade certified logo next time you shop. It’s not hard to find what brands to buy. The Good Trade features some of my favorite brands of chocolates. If you are looking for vegan chocolates, Food Empowerment Project lists over 200 companies that make vegan chocolates without use of human slaves.
In addition to chocolates, below is a list of other Fair Trade certified products that would make excellent Valentine’s Day gifts for your loved ones.
Fair Trade products
What are your favorite chocolate brands? Are they Fair Trade certified?