What can make a chocolate bar more wonderful than it already is? Answer: Making the bar from cocoa beans where the farmer was paid a fair wage for their product, where no slave labor was used, and where earth-friendly and sustainable growing standards were adhered to.
That’s what you get with a certified FairTrade bar of chocolate. An estimated 14 million people in the developing world depend on cocoa production for their livelihoods. FairTrade helps ensure that they can make a real living and we get a better and safer product. Sweet!
Specifically, FairTrade standards for cocoa ensure the following:
1. Producers are small family farms organized in cooperatives or associations which they own and govern.
2. The FairTrade minimum price is paid directly to the producer organizations. The FairTrade minimum price is currently set at US$1600/metric ton (MT) for conventional cocoa and US$1750/MT for organic cocoa. When the world market price rises above the FairTrade minimum price, the market price is paid plus the FairTrade Premium.
3. A FairTrade Premium of US$150/MT is paid on top of the purchase price and is used by producer organizations for social and economic investments. If the cocoa is organic certified the Premium is US$200/MT.
4. Environmental standards restrict the use of agrochemicals and encourage sustainability.
5. Pre-harvest lines of credit are given to the cooperatives, if requested, of up to 60% of the purchase price.
6. No forced labor of any kind is used, including child labor.
See an animated music video “For a Few Pesos More” about FairTrade at Reach and Teach. You can learn more about FairTrade and get some ideas on how to build awareness about FairTrade chocolate at Global Exchange. You can learn how to recognize FairTrade chocolate and find places near you where you can purchase FairTrade chocolate at TransFair USA.
By the way, once a year I make a batch of 80 to 100 home made chocolate truffles for friends and neighbors. My chocolate of choice is fair trade and organic and comes from Sweet Earth Chocolates in San Luis Obispo, California.