Thursday, October 7, 2010

fair trade friday (on thursday)

October is Fair Trade month- what a great time to begin the conversation about the importance of Fair Trade!  I'm hoping to highlight certain businesses and organization at least once a week (on Friday) for the duration of the month.

The term "fair trade" basically means the workers are being paid a fair wage for their work and they are being treated humanely in their work environment.  Also, yearly inspections verify that workers are not enslaved.  In a perfect world, Fair Trade certification would not be necessary, because we as humans would treat other humans with respect and dignity.  But we know that is just not the case.  As consumers, we have the ability to vote with our dollar.  We say what matters to us by how we spend our money.  The bottom line is buying Fair Trade matters.

Look for this logo to make sure the product you are buying is Fair Trade.

There are a few hot topics in the Fair Trade spectrum- coffee, sugar and chocolate.  These three items are ones that are most likely to be produced by slaves.  Did you get that?  Not just a farmer being paid unfairly, but people being oppressed through slavery!  

Chocolate is a $13 billion dollar industry worldwide!  About half of the chocolate produced worldwide comes from the Ivory Coast of Africa.  These cocoa plantations are mostly worked by slaves.  And not adult slaves.  Over half of the world's cocoa beans are harvested by child slaves.  These are children that have either been kidnapped or sold by family members- usually for about $30 USD.  That is appalling.  It is horrific to think that our ability to buy a cheap candy bar at the corner store comes at the expense of a child.  Salia Kante, director of the Save the Children fund in Mali has been quoted as saying:

  "People who are drinking cocoa and eating chocolate 
are drinking and eating the blood of children."  

Remember when people stood up and said that we wouldn't eat tuna fish at the expense of dolphins?  Do you remember what happened?  It changed an entire industry!  The tuna boycott actually worked!  
Halloween is around the corner.  What would happen if all of that halloween chocolate just sat on the shelves, going unsold?  Do you think that would send a message to the big chocolate producers?  I do!

Let's take a stand together!  Let's tell big chocolate business that we won't buy their chocolate unless it is Fair Trade certified.  Let's make the message clear that we will not tolerate the enslavement of children so we can have our cheap chocolate.

Let's start, in this Fair Trade month of October, by "just saying no" to conventional chocolate.

Fair Trade chocolate:

  • Cadbury- I was so happily surprised to see this!  Big business stepping up to the plate!
  • here's a great list already written out for me!

Trick or Treat alternatives:

Any other creative ideas?

***for more info on chocolate slavery see Stop Chocolate Slavery

{{{and yes, i realize i'm publishing this a day early.  just couldn't wait!}}}


Steph said...

Hey...thanks for this post. I will use your handy links to help me with my Halloween candy shopping!

And...regarding your last few posts...just want you to know we are so excited for you guys. We love you and will be praying for you in this season, which will most certainly be hard and wonderful and scary and amazing. I can't wait to grab a cup of fair-trade hot chocolate and sit on your front porch and talk face to face about it! :) Love you!

Amanda said...

Wow, Mandi, inspiring post. I hate buying regular ol' candy for trick-or-treaters anyway, but now I know I REALLY have to find an alternative. And hey, I can feel good about the fact that I've given up sugar and coffee and chocolate for myself completely!

Thank you so much for the chasteberry recommendation! When I looked it up I also found some other herbs that are supposed to help, especially licorice root. Now I'm drinking Yogi tea instead of coffee or black tea.

Jill said...

I am doing a speech about slavery in the chocolate industry today! Justice and slavery awareness have really been on my heart for the last few months, and when I was researching for the speech my mom told me about your blog post. I just wanted to let you know you are one of my sources =) Thanks Mandi!

Jill Jahns