Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fair Trade Chocolate: A Sustainable & Responsible Choice

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, have you considered fair trade chocolate? You can find a list of fair trade chocolate producers on the Global Exchange website.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of fair trade is "a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade."

Another fair trade chocolate producer of interest is Tony's Chocolonely. You may remember founder Teun van de Keuken, a Dutch TV journalist who discovered that most chocolate can be traced back through its supply chain to child slavery in the Ivory Coast. Since slavery is illegal in his home country and in the Ivory Coast, and the purchase of products from illegal activities is a criminal offense, he surrendered himself to police and (unsuccessfully) sought criminal prosecution against himself.

It is also worth noting that the extended Harkin-Engel Protocol deadline is July 2008, in which chocolate producers are expected "to eliminate the worst forms of child labor." The first deadline in 2005 was not met and an extension to July 2008 was granted.

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