It was only yesterday that a colleague and I were discussing the perils of the Fairtrade chocolate choice. Our question was 'why, in this day and age do we even have a non fair trade choice?' It's kind of outrageous when you really think about it. Millions of chocolate bars and coffees bought every year from brands that have enough money to throw millions of pounds of advertisements so where's the excuse for not buying fairtrade cocoa beans?
Apparently it takes a lot of effort and time to change. But this is ok if the change is happening. Companies like Cadbury and Mars are on their way at least. Cadbury is believed to be the first mass-market brand to aim for the Fairtrade certification. By the end of this summer (09) the company aims to have the UK's top selling chocolate - Cadbury Dairy Milk - stamped with the Fair Trade symbol. Mars have also just announced they will be pouring money into certifying the cocoa used in their chocolate with the aim to make it completely sustainably sourced by 2020.
With two of the leaders in the chocolate industry making considerable effort and investment into ethically sourced ingredients hopefully other big spenders in the chocolate and coffee world will follow suit.
Montezuma's organic cocoa is sourced from a co-operative of over 9000 small plantations in the Dominican Republic and co-op in Peru. The co-ops have a strong social structure that re-invests into the local society and infrastructure in a way that makes their cocoa based agriculture sustainable, equitable and profitable. The price they receive is significantly above the open market price for cocoa and above the price paid for "Fairtrade" cocoa.
Not only does fair trade improve living standards and conditions for farmers and their communities it also ensures a higher quality of cocoa. That's happier work for happier chocolate!