Cocoa beans are farmed in developing countries, like Africa and Brazil. Unfortunately, the manufacturers who purchase beans from the farmers do not pay enough money for the farmers to make a living for themselves. Climate change is also affecting the plants. These problems drive newer generations away from the farming business, and the global chocolate supply has diminished. However, Fairtrade has a solution.
Fairtrade Canada helps farmers and workers in developing countries get their fair share of profit on the products that they grow. When you buy something with the Fairtrade logo, you are supporting the farmers and workers. The Fairtrade ingredients in the products have been produced by organizations that meet the Fairtrade standards: protection of the workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade minimum price, and an additional Fairtrade premium to invest in business or community projects. Fairtrade works to benefit small-scale farmers and workers through trade to enable them to maintain their livelihoods and reach their potential. The farmers continue their work, and Fairtrade gives them the income to plan for the future. Fairtrade also endorses plantations that employ large numbers of workers. The Fairtrade standards for production units differ and protect workers’ rights; keeping them safe and healthy, allowing them freedom of association and collective bargaining; preventing discrimination and ensuring no bonding or illegal child labour. They also require employers to pay wages that progress towards living wage benchmarks. Ensuring decent working conditions and stronger worker rights is the central goal to Fairtrade’s work. The producers decide how the Fairtrade premium should be invested. The Premium is the additional sum of money paid on top of the Fairtrade Minimum Price that farmers and workers receive which can be invested in social, environmental and economic development projects to improve their businesses and communities, like schools, transport, health care, sanitation, an improved environment and better business equipment and practices.
There are many stores in the Kitchener-Waterloo area that support Fairtrade chocolate, including A Matter of Taste in downtown Kitchener, those on the University of Waterloo campus, Eating Well Organically, Ten Thousand Villages, Café 1812, Vincenzo’s, Starbucks, Timothy’s, Zehrs, Sobey’s, Wilfrid Laurier University campus, and Delight Fairtrade Chocolate.
Let’s look for the Fairtrade Logo and purchase these products in support of the farmers.