Monday, October 4, 2010

Ethical Chocolate

I seriously love chocolate. Every Halloween, as a child, I was more than happy to trade away candy corns, licorice, or any sugary treat that was not chocolate. But chocolate I guarded like a hawk. I still love chocolate but as a holistic-minded parent, I have definitely changed my chocolate ways. Oh, I still consume copious amounts of the stuff, but now it's organic and fair trade. It's one of those simple changes we can all make that has an impact.

Why? First, because cocoa farmers are some of the poorest people on the planet. Small family cocoa farms have little access to safe and effective practices and, in many cases, are worked by children (both voluntarily and through slave trade). According to the Fair Trade Federation, an estimated 1.4 billion people survive on less than $1.25 per day. Organizations like the International Cocoa Initiative are working to end exploitative and forced child labor, but consumer support is also critical to success. The principles of fair trade are simple: create opportunities for disadvantaged producers, do not maximize profit at the expense of the producers, pay a fair price, abolish child and forced labor, and encourage sustainable technologies, among others.

How can you help? Start by looking for and buying fair trade chocolate. As you plan your Halloween treats, choose a fair trade alternative. Check out Global Exchange's Reverse Trick-or-Treating Program and consider sharing a flyer with your neighbors or friends about the importance of buying fair trade. Get involved in changing the coffee and chocolate industries through the Sweet Smarts curriculum and teach your children the power of their choices. Look for Fair Trade certification labels and request your local store carry products that are fair trade. Visit some of the Global Exchange stores in your area or online to see a variety of products that support fair trade.

Questions? Visit Global Exchange's questions page to learn more! And join us Tuesday, October 5th at 10 pm ET for a Twitter Party at #holisticmoms to chat with Global Exchange about reverse trick-or-treating, fair trade, and to share healthy Halloween tips!

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