Love Chocolate, Hate Injustice?

Seven reasons to choose a better, fairer future for cocoa farmers.

We all love chocolate because it tastes nice and for most of us, once we start on a bar of chocolate we can’t stop until it’s all gone. That creamy viscosity when you take it out of its wrapper and put a piece in your mouth without biting, combined with the perfect ration of sugar and fat is mouth wateringly tantalizing.

But like most things in life, if you look more closely at the wrapper, you can find out a lot more about the conditions under which the beans in your bar were produced. Because the unpalatable truth is that the chocolate industry is a more bittersweet than you might think. And on 31st March, the government of Cote d’Ivoire announced it had reduced the guaranteed price paid to farmers by 25% compared to last year.

Around 60 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced by 2.5 million small farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana under very tough conditions, in a small belt within 10 degrees of the equator, where the weather is hot and wet enough for the beans to thrive.  The production of this precious commodity rests all too often on inequality, injustice and exploitation. 

Despite working gruelling days, the average cocoa farmer in the cocoa belt earns just $1 per day or less, well below the extreme poverty line of $1.90 per day, and even further behind the amount that equates to a living income at around $2.50 a day. On top of this cocoa farmers are exposed to the volatility of the global cocoa market.

Gender equity 

An already unacceptable situation is even worse for a large number of women farmers – Fairtrade has calculated they earn five times less than their male counterparts. Fairtrade is helping to challenge the gender gap, enabling women to stake their claim and succeed on their own terms. Fairtrade Standards are designed to prevent gender inequality, increase female participation and empower more women and girls to access the benefits of Fairtrade.

When the terms of trade are stacked against farmers it drives poverty, social injustice and environmental degradation. Without action, the systemic problems facing the cocoa sector will persist. 

Therese belongs to CAVA co-operative in Côte d’Ivoire. She believes her children deserve more. So that’s her priority – doing everything she can to offer them better chances in life. In her words ‘to leave them higher’.

Education

Perhaps the single most important thing that happened to Therese – or didn’t happen – was that she didn’t go to school. ‘This was devastating to me.’ She knows the opportunities that education can offer, the choices it can open up. And it’s left her determined to do whatever she can to make sure her children have those chances.

Decent incomes

As an Ivorian cocoa farmer and a woman at that, Therese is one of the fortunate ones. Both she and her husband own their own cocoa farms. She belongs to a group of farmers who have a market for their beans through Fairtrade. Most importantly, this means that she has a safety net in the form of a minimum price for her crop. This is vital, as prices for cocoa are some of the most volatile on the market and frequently plunge to levels that leave farmers like Therese hungry and out of pocket.

Food security

It’s this security that allows Therese and her husband to support eight children. She has to pay for their fees and books, as well as boarding and food. Most of her money goes on their education but there’s no question that the sacrifices she makes are worth it. ‘I am suffering at the moment for my kids to have a good job in cities so that they will not come back here and suffer again like me.’ She and her husband supplement their income with other crops, because the money from cocoa only comes in a couple of times a year and more often than not, doesn’t last that long. ‘At the moment life is very hard around here.’

As is so often case across the world, the responsibilities of cooking, washing and cleaning the house also fall to Therese. Collectively, the co-operative she belongs to earns extra money through Fairtrade, called the Fairtrade Premium. Together they decide what they should spend it on for the most benefit to their community. 

Clean Water

For Therese, one of the biggest changes brought about by this is a community water pump. The village she lives in has seen an improvement in child health: ‘In the past the water we used to have to drink, even if people were asking you to do their washing in it, you would have refused because it [the water] was unclean, but we used to boil that water before drinking. Thanks to the co-op CAVA, today we can have clean water in our village to drink. In the past when we used to drink the dirty water from wells and rivers the children were getting sick all the time, but today, because of the water coming from the pump, children are feeling well, healthier, and everybody is happy about that.’ 

For Therese, the price she gets now for her cocoa is better than before. She illustrates how powerless the cocoa farmers are in the supply chain. They were at the mercy of whatever anyone would pay them: ‘Thanks to co-operative CAVA, we can say that CAVA is respecting the government’s price, but before the co-op we used to have here, private buyers, that were hiding to come and buy, who would not respect or enforce the price. Now CAVA is respecting the price and our revenues are increasing.’ 

Climate justice

It’s not all about the Fairtrade price and premium though. Therese is keen to highlight the other benefits of being part of Fairtrade. It’s the way the co-op is organised, and how it ensures health and safety and other rights at work are upheld. ‘When I am selling through CAVA co-op, the price is respected. In addition, the co-op is in charge of the treatment, they provide pesticides, they provide boots, they provide machetes, they even provide cash money to the farmers so that they can handle the farms, this is called the Premium and I really appreciate that.’

Therese’s story highlights the main seven benefits that Fairtrade brings to her community, namely education, income improvement, access to clean drinking water, nutritious diet, environmental protection and climate mitigation, healthcare and gender empowerment. 

For the future of chocolate to be fair and sustainable, cocoa farmers need to earn enough to cover their basic needs. They need to earn living incomes, enough so farmers can have a decent standard of living, enough to cover all their cocoa farming costs and their basic human rights, such as a nutritious diet, children’s education and healthcare. Plus a little bit extra for the future. 

We started campaigning for living incomes in 2017, calling for action across the chocolate sector. We then introduced our Fairtrade Living Income Reference Price and set out a comprehensive framework for companies to sign up to, bringing together tactics such as raising productivity, farm efficiency and empowerment of women leaders in farming communities as well as higher prices.

Fairtrade chocolate is undoubtedly a choice for change. When you choose Fairtrade you’re choosing fair pay and more power in the hands of cocoa farmers, to invest in their businesses, grow their incomes, and build better lives for their families and communities. Fairtrade means food, clean water, climate justice, medical care, education, gender equity and food security. Your choice signals to businesses and governments that you believe in a fairer future, where cocoa farmers can earn a living income. We all have a part to play to change the future of chocolate for the better. 

Unwrap a brighter future for cocoa farmers by choosing Fairtrade

Read More About Therese here

Check Out Our Top 8 Fairtrade Chocolate Bars

 https://www.fairtrade.ie/top-8-fairtrade-chocolate-bars/

 

TOP 8 FAIRTRADE CHOCOLATE BARS

The 2021 roundup of the fairest chocolate bars in stores for World Chocolate Day on 7th July, includes organic, bird friendly, elegant classics, secret fillings, drool-worthy flavours and the smoothest chocolate.

Along with the joy of unwrapping your favourite Fairtrade chocolate bar and devouring, you can also feel chuffed that your choice means more power in the hands of cocoa farmers.

Love chocolate, hate injustice? The farmers who grow the cocoa in most chocolate bars we love to enjoy earn on average $1 per day, which isn’t enough to cover their basic needs. Cocoa farmers must also deal with the immediate and ever-increasing threat of the climate crisis. Even though farmers in countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have contributed the least to the climate emergency, they are disproportionately affected and struggle with crop failure. Fairtrade offers farmers the safety net of the set Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Fairtrade Premium. Through the chain reaction of choosing Fairtrade, you’re supporting clean water, climate justice, medical care, education, gender equity and food security for cocoa farmers. Fairtrade also means environmentally friendly farming and supporting cocoa farmers to move towards earning a living income.

So check out these chocolatey treats laid out below in all their creamy viscosity!

1. Way To Go

Lidl’s Way To Go! bars come in four fantastic flavours (Caramelised Almonds and Sea Salt is the current favourite of the Fairtrade Ireland team). In addition to paying a Fairtrade Minimum price and a Fairtrade Premium, Lidl will also be paying an additional premium, in a step towards achieving living income for cocoa farmers in West Africa.

In its first year of sales in Ireland, the Way To Go! bar will benefit approximately 440 individual cocoa farmers, 25% whom are women.

Where to buy: Lidl

2. Exploding Tree

If you’re looking to support Fairtrade and local, Exploding Tree is the chocolate for you. Exploding Tree is a small Irish business and Fairtrade licensee based in Clonakilty. Exploding Tree is one of four companies creating bean to bar chocolate, and the only one of four that is Fairtrade certified! All of their products use 100% Fairtrade cocoa and organic coconut sugar and come in biodegradable packaging too.

Where to buy: Exploding Tree, selected health stores.

3. Maltesers

We all know and love these honeycomb-centred balls of yumminess. And they’re available almost everywhere! Look for the Fairtrade Mark.

Where to buy: Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Supervalu, Spar

4. Moser Roth

Aldi’s Moser Roth chocolate bars are one of our favourite FSI (Fairtrade Sourced Ingredient) cocoa products! Coming in a huge range of flavours try, from classics like Madagascan Vanilla and 85% Dark Chocolate to more exotic flavours like Chili (if you’re feeling adventurous!)

Where to buy: Aldi

5. Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely are a fantastic brand who not only make delicious chocolate perfect for sharing but are also on a mission to make 100% slave-free chocolate the norm – who wouldn’t want to support that?!

Where to buy: Insomnia, Tesco, Supervalu, Spar, Avoca, Brown Thomas, Fallon & Byrne, Easons, Fresh

6. Chocolate and Love

Chocolate and Love pride themselves on sourcing some of the world’s finest organic, ethically sourced ingredients to produce their award-winning Fairtrade bars. Their stunning packaging makes them the perfect bar of chocolate to give to someone special and they have a fantastic range of vegan friendly flavours for any of our plant-based supporters.

Where to buy: Nourish, selected health stores

7. Green & Blacks

Green & Blacks were one of the first Fairtrade licensees to start doing Fairtrade cocoa products! Be sure to keep an eye out for the Fairtrade logo!

Where to buy: Tesco, Supervalu and selected stores

8. Vego

All of VEGO Chocolate is vegan, 100% Fairtrade, organic, gluten free, palm oil free and delicious! What’s not to love?

Where to buy: Holland and Barrett, Nourish, Supervalu

WHY CHOOSE FAIRTRADE CHOCOLATE?

Choosing Fairtrade means supporting farmers with fair pay, enabling them to create better lives for their families and communities.

Hear from Bengaly Bourama on why Fairtrade makes a real difference to his community.

‘WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BUILD A SCHOOL, ACCOMMODATION FOR THE TEACHERS OF THE SCHOOL, WE HAVE RENOVATED THE HOSPITAL, WE HAVE GIVEN AN AMBULANCE TO THE HOSPITAL, ALL OF THIS WITH THE FAIRTRADE PREMIUM. AND WE HAVE A PROJECT TO BUILD THE HEADQUARTERS THAT THE CO-OPERATIVE DESERVES BY THE END OF THE YEAR. WITHOUT FAIRTRADE WE WOULDN’T BE IN THIS POSITION.’

BENGALY BOURAMA, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE COOBADI CO-OPERATIVE IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE

Fairtrade and Climate Justice 

Based on Research by Dr Oliver Moore

#ChooseTheWorldYouWant

The majority of greenhouse gas emissions have occurred in the last 30 years, and, since records began in 1850, over 90% of emissions have come from the places like Europe, US, (G8). Those who have contributed the least to the carbon crises should not have to pay the highest price to try and resolve it. Yet, vulnerable rural populations in the global south are currently paying the highest price.  Climate impacts are being seen in more frequent chaotic climate events like hurricanes, drought and  floods. And these are being added to pre-existing vulnerabilities like poverty, exclusion and exploitation. Fundamentally, climate justice  and a Just Transition need to include trade and economic justice, to ensure opportunities for everyone.

Fairtrade And Climate Justice

A Just Transition – Redressing historical injustices

A Just Transition has to take into account the ongoing impact of historical injustices and their living legacies in extreme poverty and economic exclusion. Clearly, the environmental damage caused by the wealthy world’s more excessive development models, including in particular the extraction and use of fossil fuels, has brought us to the point where we facing climate breakdown and ecological collapse. The people who caused and benefited the least from this, are now the ones who are suffering the most from it. There is thus an onus on the wealthiest nations and industrial sectors, to deal with the mess it has created, a mess still felt most acutely in the rural global south.

Just transition then, means economic, trade and climate justice coming together. It needs both climate mitigation and climate adaptation. It accepts that the global south is justified in focusing more on climate adaptation, as it has contributed so little to the green-house gas emissions load in the atmosphere. In seeking to balance the climate, trade-  and economic balance sheets – the 92% of global-north historic emissions – compared to the 8% historic emissions from global-south – should be the reference point in defining adaptive strategies for different parts of the world.

In Ireland for example,  “We emit more greenhouse gases than the poorest 400 million people on the planet. Almost unique in the EU, Ireland is failing to meet its obligations and is increasing its greenhouse gas emissions” according to Professor John Sweeney, Ireland’s leading climate change expert and member of the IPCC.

Where are we Now – Environmental Stresses

Climate

Greenhouse gas emissions and the need for the necessary reductions, need to be seen within an historical emissions, climate and trade justice framework. We must enable the significant improvement of social, economic and environmental situations for those in the poorest parts of the world for a just global transition to mean anything.

The vast majority of  greenhouse gas emissions have come from the wealthy countries described as the Global North –  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) figures from1850 onwards estimate that 92% of excess emissions have come from this source. And while some parts of what is traditionally called the global south are speeding up their emissions- the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China –  clearly climate and other environmental stresses are impacting rural farmers and land workers in the global south especially hard. (Hickel 2020)

Today, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at their highest level in at least 800,000 years; temperature records are constantly being broken in recent years, including in the arctic where unprecedented wildfires rage; wildfires and storms are more severe and may be causing other more severe weather occurrences; 

Stronger and more frequent weather extremes, from hurricanes to drought, temperature highs to flooding – are felt more, and with more severity, in the tropics: “The number of exceptionally hot days are expected to increase the most in the tropics…extreme heatwaves are thus projected to emerge earliest in these regions, and they are expected to already become widespread there at 1.5°C global warming (high confidence)” the IPCC states. Moreover, socio-economically it is more difficult for the rural poor to find the resources to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Tropics, the band of countries that lie within 10 degrees north or south of the equator, is where most commodities like coffee and cocoa are grown.

Environment and Biodiversity

With biodiversity it is a similar story for insects, birds and mammals.  Over half of Europe’s farmland birds have disappeared since 1980,  globally it is estimated that over 40% of all insects are threatened with extinction, and a  2018 study reveals that farmed poultry today makes up 70% of all birds on the planet, with just 30% being wild. The picture is even more stark for mammals – 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are human and just 4% are wild animals. The interlocked nature of these crises is evidenced by the fact that  climate change is a key driver of biodiversity loss, after invasive species and  land use change. 

Producers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Producers in countries in Sub Saharan Africa face the most challenging circumstances of any commodity producers. In economic terms we see price volatility, increasing costs, low margins, lack of organising, and concurrently, a lack of access to affordable finance. These lead to increasing debt, more precarious work and lives, child labour and involuntary migration, among other severe problems. (OECD 2019) Environmentally, weather extremes brought on by increased climate breakdown; biodiversity loss and pollutants all impact on the ability to produce, from availability of clean water to changes in pest and disease behaviour. 

Socially, these climate changes impact the role of women and children everywhere. Rural women globally produce more food and work longer hours, yet have less of a say and less power in family and work/business life in much of the global south (UN FAO). Child labour is still too often a fact of life, out of economic necessity or more exploitative reasons, prevalent in cocoa production in West Africa. In the worst cases in west Africa, this still includes forced labour in cocoa plantations.

Fairtrade and Climate Justice

Fairtrade has its role to play here, in helping right the economic wrongs and also in contributing to climate mitigation and adaptation. 

The Fairtrade standards have rightly been focused on issues of economic justice from their inception. Moreover, it is a democratic right of the producer organisations to decide how to spend their premiums – which is how it should be. Finally, as has been established, a climate adaptation focus is justified in a climate justice context. Importantly, emissions from transport make up a small part of agri-foods overall green house gas emissions. Referencing the largest yet data set of food green house gas emissions, with data drawn from more than 38,000 commercial farms in 119 countries, Richie (2020) points out that transport is overall “a small contributor to emissions. For most food products, it accounts for less than 10%” of the overall total. (drawn from Poole and Nemecek 2018)

Fairtrade’s economic tools are part of necessary climate justice approaches

Fairtrade has primarily been focused on greatest needs of the rural poor in the global south, so economic justice has been the core focus. Fairtrade is a partnership that generates a minimum price and price premium. Minimum price gives stability, which allows farmers to plan and potentially borrow with a price guarantee behind them. The Fairtrade Premium is an additional sum of money which goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use – as they see fit – to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. 

For cocoa, price premium and minimum price both increased recently: In 2019, as part of our effort to achieve decent incomes, we raised the Fairtrade Minimum Price for cocoa by 20 percent to US$2,400 per MT (FOB), and the Fairtrade Premium – also by 20 percent – to US$240 per MT.

Towards Living Incomes

But more is needed. As a frontrunner in promoting economic justice, Fairtrade is actively working towards establishing living incomes for producers and workers. This work has been ongoing since 2012; in 2017 a Living Income Strategy was developed. The work is being piloted in west African cocoa and the ways of working towrads living income are set out here).

Living Income – A Definition

Living income is defined as sufficient income generated by a household to afford a decent standard of living for the household members. Elements of a decent standard of living include: food, water, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing, and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected events.

(Fairtrade Living Income Strategy)

A Living Income Reference Price is based on the following key parameters:

  1. Cost of a decent standard of living (living income benchmark)
  2. Sustainable yields (productivity benchmark)
  3. Viable farm size (to fully employ the available household labour)
  4. Cost of sustainable production (in order to achieve the above mentioned yields).

Fairtrade estimates that in addition to its increased minimum price and premium for cocoa, an additional Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) of US$300 a ton is needed 

This living income work is progressing with a number of companies now involved. Tony Chocolonely are now paying a living income differential,  Ben & Jerry announcing in November 2020  a commitment to paying a higher price, an additional $600,000 over the next year to their 5,000 cocoa farmers. Way to go! Retailer LIDL’s latest range, is not only Fairtrade, but also contributes a supplementary premium of their own to move towards a living income. Lidl are working with the Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ cooperative.

Fairtrade and Climate work

Fairtrade has developed a voluntary climate standard with multiple wins including carbon insetting. This climate standard is intended for companies who have already made efforts to mitigate their carbon emissions and is a further way to support smallholders and rural communities to produce Fairtrade Carbon Credits and gain access to the carbon market.

Projects eligible for generating Fairtrade carbon credits fall into three categories:

  • Renewable energy projects such as solar thermal heating/electricity, solar photovoltaic, wind energy, hydropower, biogas heating/electricity
  • Energy efficiency projects such as improved cookstoves, water filtration/purification systems, energy saving lamps/fluorescent lamps
  • Forestry projects such as planting trees or replanting trees in a previously forested area

Many of these have the added benefit of being socio-economically, and, in gender and health terms, positive actions in themselves. Watering firework is time consuming and sometimes dangerous work conducted by women and children; moreover, open fires shorten lives though smoke inhalation and increase deforestation due to heat loss.

Importantly, companies purchasing Fairtrade Carbon Credits at the end of the supply chain must put in place a credible plan to reduce their emissions and increasingly compensate their emissions with Fairtrade Carbon Credits.

Climate Change Academies and Leadership

These are couple of examples of how Fairtrade has developed Climate Change Academies which help small producer organisations to make effective decisions around climate change; introduce disaster risk management and sustainable farming practices; increase use of renewable energies; increase income generating resilience activities such as diversification; develop best practice guides. These will help organisations transition sustainably. 

Fairtrade and The Environment

Fairtrade Standards

It is also important to point out that there are both a significant and increasing number of environmental components to the Fairtrade standards: a quarter of the criteria of the Fairtrade Standard for Small Producer Organisations (v1.5) are already environmental criteria, covering issues such pest management, pesticide use, soil management, water use, biodiversity and more. Many of these environmental components, of soil, water, pesticides and so on, were added recently, in 2019. 

In fact, of the 45 new elements to the standards added in 2019, one in three are environmental including; 

  • minimising the use of herbicides
  • identifying land at risk of erosion
  • implementing measures to enhance soil fertility
  • training members on sustainable water use
  • avoiding deforestation or impact on carbon storing ecosystems
  • preventing deforestation
  • protecting and enhancing biodiversity
  • adapting to climate change and reducing green house gas emissions

Work is also being done to improve data collection, monitoring and evaluation and so on, to make positive environmental impacts more measurable. There are strong and increasing synergies with other environmental standards, in particular  with organic certification. 

Fairtrade and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Given the breath of Fairtrade’s work, we have touch points across all seventeen SDGs. However given our focus on supporting marginalised farmers and workers, we are emphasising our role the 8 SDGs Fairtrade focuses on 

Farmer organisations spend a significant amount of the extra money they receive in areas covered by the SDGs, this investment is shown as  percentages roughly on which SDGs the premium is spent on.

A Fair Guide to Christmas 2020

There’s thousands of Fairtrade products to choose from out there that would make beautiful and thoughtful gifts for you and your loved ones – here are a few ideas if you’re looking!

EXPLODING TREE CRAFT CHOCOLATE SELECTION BOX

If you’re a supporter of fair and local Exploding Tree’s selection box is the perfect gift for you! Exploding Tree is a small Irish business and Fairtrade licensee based in Clonakilty and all of their products use 100% Fairtrade cocoa and organic coconut sugar and come in biodegradable packaging too.

Where to buy: Exploding Tree, selected health stores.

POINSETTIA

 

Give your home a festive feel with a beautiful poinsettia plant which comes with a lovely reusable flowerpot. The Fairtrade certified Poinsettia cuttings come from the Wagagai Fairtrade farm in Uganda and are grown in O’Connor Nurseries in Gorey Co Wexford. The farm started in 2000 selling roses and started to cultivate a wider variety of blooms, including poinsettia cuttings, to increase sustainability. Wagagai is the largest employer in Uganda in the floricultural sector, and currently employs over 2100 people, 70% of whom are women.

Where to buy: Aldi

WAY TO GO! BARS

Lidl’s newly launched Way To Go! bars come in four fantastic flavours (Caramelised Almonds and Sea Salt is the current favourite of the Fairtrade Ireland team). In addition to paying a Fairtrade Minimum price and a Fairtrade Premium, Lidl will also be paying an additional premium, in a step towards achieving living income for cocoa farmers in West Africa.

In its first year of sales in Ireland, the Way To Go! bar will benefit approximately 440 individual cocoa farmers, 25% whom are women.

Where to buy: Lidl

BEWLEY’S Coffee

Why not pick some Bewley’s coffee? Bewley’s have a huge range of 100% Fairtrade coffee, whether you’re looking for single origin or a blend, and available in ground, instant, espresso pods or even ready to grind coffee beans! You’ll be supporting another Irish company and it will be perfect if you’re in need of a pick me up after an early start to see what Santa has left on Christmas morning

Where to buy: Bewley’s, any major Irish retailer

SUPERVALU RESERVE BLEND FAIRTRADE TEA

Pick up a box of Fairtrade tea to enjoy with your favourite Christmas treats, from Fairtrade chocolates to mince pies it’s the perfect match.

Where to buy: Supervalu

TESCO FINEST FAIR TRADE SOUTH AFRICAN MALBEC

Tesco Finest’s Fairtrade Wines are a great gift or a lovely treat for yourself over the festive season and we think this South African Malbec would go perfectly with our next idea!

Where to buy: Tesco

TONY’S CHOCOLONELY

Tony’s Chocolonely are a fantastic brand who not only make delicious chocolate perfect for sharing but are also on a mission to make 100% slave-free chocolate the norm – who wouldn’t want to support that?!

Where to buy:  Selected Supervalu, Spar and Fresh stores, Brown Thomas and Easons

ORGANIC FAIRTRADE MULLED WINE SACHETS (BOX OF 5) STEENBERGS

These Organic Fairtrade Mulled Wine Sachets are easy to use and perfect for Christmas. Use them in a nice warm drink with or without wine, or use them to flavour fruit while stewing for a lovely seasonal crumble!

Where to buy: Fallon & Byrne, Veganic, Steenberg

FAIRTRADE HAMPERS

This year the Rediscovery Centre have made up some gorgeous hampers with a mix of Fairtrade and local products, along with some sustainable treats too!

Where to buy: The Rediscovery Centre

There are loads more different Fairtrade products available in all kinds of outlets, so it’s never been easier to find something for a Christmas stocking, Kris Kindle, for under the tree or just for the larder.

And if you’re out doing your Christmas shopping why not grab a nice cup of 100% Fairtrade coffee to keep you going from Bewley’s, Butlers, Insomnia, Puro, AMT Coffee, Esquires or an independent coffee shop that supports Fairtrade!

MORE DOUGH FOR COCOA FARMERS

Together with Ben & Jerry’s we’re on a mission to make a living income possible for cocoa farmers in West Africa

At Fairtrade, we believe that all farmers should be paid fairly for their work and have the opportunity to afford a decent standard of living. Our mission is to ensure that farmers are able to earn a living income, starting with cocoa farmers in West Africa. That means earning sufficient to cover all of their cocoa farming costs and basic needs.

 Most of the world’s cocoa is grown in developing nations, places like Cote d’Ivoire, where there are few protections for smallholder farms. Almost all cocoa farmers live off the profit they make from their crop, which varies every year based on factors they cannot control, such as weather and commodity prices. Yet the average cocoa farmer there is trapped in a deeply unfair global trading system, earning less than €0.90 cent a day, which is less than half of what is required for a living income.

Often farmers are unable to pay for their daily needs, let alone invest in new equipment or methods that might be better able to respond to the effects of the climate crisis. Erratic rainfall, drought, and deforestation are making life even harder for cocoa farmers

Since 2012, we’ve been developing work on living incomes. In 2017 we launched Fairtrade’s Living Income Strategy and outlined a roadmap for making tangible progress towards living incomes for cocoa farmers. We’ve since made important strides in developing and implementing interventions and tools to raise the bar and we are partnering with forward-looking businesses on this journey.

So we’re super excited to be working with our friends at Ben & Jerry’s who have committed to paying a higher price, an additional $600,000 over the next year to their 5,000 cocoa farmers. This amount is on top of both the annual Fairtrade Premium of around $970,000 (paid on their chocolate ice cream mix) and the Ivorian government’s minimum price for cocoa that all companies are required to pay. The extra money that farmers will now receive is an important part of Ben & Jerry’s wider efforts to support farmers towards closing the living income gap.  Pretty sweet, right?

Here’s why.

Since the early days, Ben & Jerry’s has focused on more than simply delighting fans’ taste buds. A big part of that is ensuring that their farmers, suppliers, employees, and communities are taken care of too. It all comes down to what they call linked prosperity.

Fairtrade partnered with Ben & Jerry’s years ago to source five major ingredients: Cocoa, bananas, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Fairtrade means better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. So, whenever you see the Fairtrade mark on the side of one of Ben & Jerry’s tubs you know that the farmers who produce the ingredients are receiving the Fairtrade Price and Premium – income that supports farmers in improving environmental practices and adapting to a changing climate.

Fairtrade farmers agree to follow a set of standards that empower producers and benefit the environment and their community. In return, they receive a Fairtrade Premium, an extra amount of money on top of the selling price of their ingredients that they can use to invest in business or community projects.

Ben & Jerry’s Fairtrade Premiums make up between 1% – 2% of the total Fairtrade Premiums in the world. That Premium can make a huge difference. One cocoa co-op that they work with in Cote d’Ivoire was able to build a new medical clinic, hire a nurse, install solar panels, and purchase a water pump.

For many farmers, the Fairtrade Premium is life-changing, perhaps even life-saving. And now Ben & Jerry’s are exploring ways to do more. Now they are working with Fairtrade to pay a higher price to support their linked prosperity cocoa farmers on their journey towards a living income.

What is a Living Income?

Fairtrade define a living income as “sufficient income to afford a decent standard of living for all household members – including a nutritious diet, clean water, decent housing, education, health care and other essential needs, plus a little extra for emergencies and savings – once the farm costs are covered.” That “extra” is a big deal too: It means farmers are able to take care of their businesses, their communities, and the environment we share.

In short, a living income is about making sure cocoa farmers receive enough for today, and a chance to plan for the future.

Why we’re starting with cocoa farmers

Ben & Jerry’s want to be able to do the same for all of their Fairtrade farmers. But for now, cocoa feels like the right place to start, for two big reasons:

  1. Cocoa, no surprise to all the chocolate lovers out there, is one of Ben & Jerry’s major ingredients.
  2. Cocoa growers are particularly vulnerable to climate change and fluctuations in the global market.

As part of Ben & Jerry’s new price commitment for the cocoa, they will work closely with us at Fairtrade to evaluate and be sure they are making a positive difference to the 5,000 linked prosperity cocoa farmers.

How You Can Help

Every year, across all Ben & Jerry’s products, your purchases help empower about 210,000 farmers globally. We get to enjoy the delicious ingredients in our ice cream, and they get to invest in the health and prosperity of their families and communities.

All of which is to say, that Fairtrade matters! Next time you’re enjoying a delicious scoop of ice cream, remember that by choosing Fairtrade, you’re choosing the world you want to see, where cocoa farmers, their families, and their communities can build a better future.

Taste A Change In Chocolate.. Lidl’s four new ‘Way To Go’ chocolate bars launched in Ireland.

By all accounts, cocoa farmers in West Africa get very little for their cocoa beans. It is estimated there are over 2 million cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast and Ghana and the majority are living on less than half the World Bank extreme poverty level of US$ 1.90 a day.

By all accounts cocoa farmers need to earn more money, and preferably to earn a living income which would only be US$2.50 a day in the Ivory Coast.

But how do we get there?

In February this year Fairtrade Ireland published a report – Craving A Change In Chocolate –  about the cocoa farmers in West Africa who produce about 70% of the world’s cocoa. Key among the reports’ recommendations is that we need partnerships for change between organisations like Fairtrade and businesses like Lidl Ireland who sell chocolate.

In response, Lidl Ireland has introduced Way To Go!, their brand-new permanent range of Fairtrade chocolate bars that aim to help cocoa farmers close the gap towards a living income, by adding in an extra sum of money per tonne on top of the Fairtrade minimum price and premium.

This new ‘Way To Go’ initiative gives us all in Ireland the chance to support a new approach in trying to ensure living incomes for cocoa farmers. On its own it won’t change the world, but it is an example of a way to go forward. With this chocolate, about 440 individual cocoa farmers, 25% of whom are women, will benefit in the first year. When we support it, it will encourage Lidl and other chocolate suppliers to go further in supporting the cocoa farmers in their supply chains.

We think it’s the Way To Go because there is an extra US300 a ton on top of the Fairtrade minimum price and premium to support livelihoods and diversification into soap making, bee keeping and honey production.

It’s the Way To Go because it is supporting innovation for cocoa farmers and chocolate brands alike.

It’s the Way To Go because the cocoa is fully traceable to the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in the Konongo region of Ghana.

It’s the Way To Go because at EUR1.99 a bar it is an affordable treat!

We all love Bananas

I love bananas!  Other than being rich in vitamin B6, bananas are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre and magnesium. They’re one of the most popular fruits in the world, and many people can’t contemplate a morning without one. Bananas are also a staple food for millions of people, and a major export that forms the cornerstone of many countries’ economies.

Since reading, Harriet Lambs (Former Executive Director of Fairtrade Foundation) book ‘Fighting the Banana Wars and Other Fairtrade Battles’ back in 2009, I vowed to never eat a non-Fairtrade banana again! 11 years later and I have stubbornly stuck to my guns! The great thing is it’s now very easy to make this choice as every supermarket chain in Ireland is selling delicious Fairtrade Bananas so it’s a no brainer!

We are delighted to see the continuing growth of 20% in Fairtrade banana sales here in 2019. The huge growth in Dunne’s Stores sales of 50%, and 25% growth in SuperValu is very positive. But given their much smaller market share of just 11%, Lidl continues to be the market leader for Fairtrade bananas with 29% of total sales in Ireland followed by ALDI and Tesco. (See charts below)


Our wish list here in Ireland is that some inspiring supermarket will make the switch to  100% Fairtrade bananas. The reason is simple; the higher sales volumes are, the more benefits accrue to the farmers.

Bananas are grown on both small-scale farms as well as large plantations. But a highly competitive market creates price pressure on bananas, ultimately putting the squeeze on banana growers.

The banana industry is labour-intensive and demanding. Climate change and plant diseases threaten yields, while large multinationals wield considerable influence in a sector that requires significant infrastructure to harvest and transport the quick-ripening fruits. Retailers often offer deep discounts on bananas, sometimes selling below cost to attract customers. Together, these factors put banana producers in a bind.

Fairtrade banana producers are paid a Fairtrade Minimum Price that acts as a safety net against falling prices. Plantation workers and small-scale banana farmers also receive a Fairtrade Premium an extra sum of money that farmers and workers invest in business or community projects of their choice. Banana farmers and workers often use the Premium to improve their housing, build schools and clinics, or offer other benefits they see a need for.

In 2018 an extra €32 million was earned by banana producers through Fairtrade sales globally. Ireland’s contribution to that is about €500,000.

Currently there are about 25,000 small farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system. Nearly all of the Fairtrade bananas sold in Ireland are also organic.

From strengthening workers’ representation to supporting farmers to mitigate the impacts of climate change, every Fairtrade banana you buy contributes to improving the lives of the workers and farmers behind this favourite fruit.

Melanie Drea

Fairtrade Ireland

12 Fairtrade Chocolate Choices You Can Make In Your Local Shop

We’ve all been there – it’s Friday, we’ve been at work all week, we deserve a treat. But a treat for us shouldn’t be at the expense of others. We don’t want exploitation and poverty to be the cost of our chocolate bar.

Cocoa farmers typically work gruelling days but don’t earn enough to provide the basics for their families or give opportunities to their children. When you choose Fairtrade chocolate, you know that you are making a difference to farmers’ lives and supporting a brighter future for their families.

Here are some of the Fairtrade chocolate bars you can find in local shops, so when you’re next craving a well-deserved treat you can make the ethical and fair choice because cocoa farmers deserve a living income.

Maltesers

We all know and love these honeycomb-centred balls of yumminess. And they’re available almost everywhere! Look for the Fairtrade Mark.

M&S

M&S has a selection of Fairtrade chocolate including their Single Origin range. Try the Gianduja chocolate with Italian hazelnuts or the white chocolate with pistachios.

Lidl

Lidl has a wide range of chocolate that, through the Fairtrade Cocoa Programme, enables small-scale farmers to benefit by selling more of their cocoa as Fairtrade. Choose from JD Gross and the Fin Carre range.

Holland & Barrett

If you’re after a vegan option, pick up a bar of Vego from Holland & Barrett. While you’re there, pick up a tub of vegan hazelnut chocolate spread. Both are organic as well as Fairtrade and delicious – so they really tick all the boxes!

Chocolate and Love

Chocolate and Love pride themselves on sourcing some of the world’s finest organic, ethically sourced ingredients to produce their award-winning Fairtrade bars, available in Nourish.

Try one ofAldi’s delicious ‘Moser Roth’ range of Fairtrade single origin chocolate bars. Choose from either Ghana, Dominican Republic or Peru.

Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely, is made with a mission to end slavery in the cocoa industry, and with Belgian Fairtrade dark, dark milk and milk chocolate bars. Another bonus is that it is all plastic-free, recyclable packaging. Available in selected Super Valu and SPAR stores as well as through independent retailers like Fresh Stores, Brown Thomas and Avoca

SPAR

SPAR has launched the SPAR Natural product line in stores throughout the country. The new instore range includes 3 chocolate bars! Available nationwide!

Exploding Tree

Award-Winning ‘Exploding Tree’c hocolate from Bean to Bar produced by Clonakilty chocolatier Allison Roberts. Available in Nourish, The Hopsack, Dublin food coop and specialty shops throughout  Ireland.

Tesco

Green & Blacks – look for the Fairtrade Mark

Divine – look out for their milk chocolate with orange bar!

A Starbucks near your office? Pop in for your afternoon treat. Snack-sized milk and dark chocolate bars available, look for the Fairtrade Mark.

Fairtrade producers raise their voices to ask Nestle to keep Kitkat Fairtrade

“As Fairtrade producers, our voice is heard and taken into account. We are treated with the respect and dignity we deserve.”

After a decade of sourcing cocoa and sugar for KitKat in the UK and Ireland, Nestlé have informed Fairtrade they no longer plan to buy Fairtrade cocoa and sugar from some of the world’s most vulnerable small scale farmers.

The move will mean a loss of almost €1.95 million in Fairtrade Premium each year for co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji and Malawi, representing 27,000 small scale producers. This income is a real lifeline for some of the world’s poorest farmers.

Nestlé and Fairtrade have made a much-needed difference to farmers’ lives in the last 10 years. Cocoa cooperatives have benefitted from the safety net of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Premium has meant communities have been able to invest in classrooms, dispensaries, canteens, and programmes to help women increase and diversify their income.

Right now, Fairtrade Premiums are providing tangible support for farmers at this difficult time. Because producers can choose themselves how to spend the Fairtrade Premium, they have been able to act quickly during the Covid-19 crisis to protect their health, support their communities and compensate for disruption to income. As a result, farmers and their cooperatives have been able to buy protective equipment, distribute hand-sanitizers, raise awareness and support families struggling due to illness. The Fairtrade Premium is unique in guaranteeing farmers full control over how they choose to invest it in their communities and farms.

Nestlé’s decision will mean all future purchases of sugar will be from European sugar beet producers, meaning cane sugar farmers will not only lose the Fairtrade Premium, but could lose access to market to sell their sugar. Future purchases of cocoa may be from the same co-operatives, but only as part of Nestlé’s own Cocoa Plan initiative, meaning no Fairtrade Premium. Cocoa farmers expressed some grave concerns when they were first told about Nestlé’s decision at a joint meeting in May. They clearly stated how worried they are about the resulting income gap and the loss of freedom to decide how the Premium is spent. When a typical cocoa farmer in West Africa lives below the extreme poverty line and earns on average 74p per day – less than half of a living income, but only a few pence more than the price of a KitKat – it is not surprising cocoa farmers are so anxious about losing further income through this move.

Writing on behalf of Ivorian cocoa farmers, Atse Ossey Francis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ivorian Fair Trade Network, said: “It is with deep regret and deep concern that we have learned that after proudly producing cocoa for KitKat in the UK and Ireland for a decade, small cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire will no longer enjoy the benefits of selling their cocoa on Fairtrade terms. Nestlé is one of the leading buyers of Fairtrade certified cocoa through its KitKat brand and we are grateful for all this decade of partnership where we have contributed to the success of Nestlé. A non-Fairtrade trade relationship means regression and continued poverty.

“We invite Nestlé to continue negotiating with us producer representatives and the Fairtrade label in order to find ways of agreement so as to reconsider their decision not to buy on Fairtrade terms. We ask Nestlé to continue the incredible work that has been done over the past 10 years so as not to cut the lifeline of the Fairtrade Premium at a time when we producers need it most! “

Besides the new global health pandemic, farmers remain deeply affected by long-term endemic poverty, lack of services, low and unpredictable income and climate change. Fairtrade means access to children’s education, access to health centres, electricity to enable children to learn, as well as improved living and working conditions for farmers in the most remote areas where cocoa is grown.

Fairtrade has the highest fixed Premium of any independent certification scheme in cocoa, currently $240 per tonne – that goes directly to the producers cooperatives on top of market price- coupled with a Minimum Price that protects farmers if world markets collapse. Fairtrade started campaigning publicly for Living Incomes for cocoa farmers in 2017 and was the first to publish a Living Income reference price. We are already working with businesses to pilot a Living Income for cocoa farmers. Research from Fairtrade International shows that the overall financial value to Ivorian Fairtrade cocoa cooperatives and their farmer members increased by almost 35 percent in 2019.

Atse continued: “Fairtrade is 50% owned by producers, giving us them power to make our own decisions for our organisations, families and communities, giving us the opportunity to raise the voice of small producers. As Fairtrade producers, our voice is heard and taken into account. We are treated with the respect and dignity we deserve. Stopping the relationship with Fairtrade is to silence our voices”

Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation UK said: “Fairtrade exists to represent farmer voices, standing beside them as they fight for their rights. We stand behind farmers as they applaud the benefits of the decade long partnership with Nestlé and as they ask Nestlé to reconsider this course of action at this time. Now, more than ever we need to act as a global community and take actions that are steps forward as we build a better future. As many businesses are scaling up commitments to Fairtrade, more farmers are benefitting from the uniqueness of Fairtrade and more shoppers in the UK able to choose from around 1,000 different Fairtrade chocolate varieties.

“We urge Nestlé: listen to farmers, do not choose this moment of global crisis to exacerbate the inequalities in the cocoa industry. Be part of the solution and keep KitKat Fairtrade.”

Download letter from the Ivorian Fair Trade Network

Our top picks for Easter

Even in these extraordinarily difficult times, it will still be Easter in a couple of weeks.  By choosing Fairtrade chocolate this Easter you can help support farmers and workers around the world by sharing some hope and love a little bit further.

Here are our top picks to buy this Easter. There is something here to satisfy each of the chocoholics in your life. From luxury dark chocolate to silky milk chocolate and cute bunnies there is something for everyone. By choosing Fairtrade you can enjoy your chocolate eggs with a good conscience, knowing that you are benefiting both the producers and the planet.

Green & Blacks Organic Butterscotch Easter egg

Fairtrade and Organic, Green & Blacks 70% Dark Chocolate Egg, an Easter egg that we can’t resist adding to our favourites. Available in Super Value and Tesco Nationwide.

Award-Winning ‘Exploding Tree’

These Fairtrade Bunnies are handmade from bean-to-bunny and hand wrapped with love in our little home studio. All bunnies are suitable for Diabetics and all Bunnies are made with coconut sugar.

Where to buy https://explodingtree.com/

Aldi, Moser Roth Delectable Duo Egg

 

A tale of 2 halves. One side single origin Ghanaian Milk Chocolate, the other a choice of either Belgian White & Feuilletine or 72% Dark Ecuador with Superfruits.

Available in Aldi Nationwide

Chocolate & Love

 

Panama Gift Box, Comes with a beautiful Easter sleeve all ready wrapped so you don’t have to! Contains 4 x 40g bars, one each of Rich Dark 71%, Panama 80%, Sea Salt 55%, Pomegranate 70%

Where to buy https://chocolateandlove.com/collections/shop/products/mothers-day-panama-gift-box

Lidl, Extra Premium Easter Egg

A decorated honeycomb flavour dark chocolate egg with gold lustre and honeycomb pieces.

Available in Lidl Nationwide

Maltesers Easter Egg

Maltesers Medium Easter Egg. A hollow milk chocolate egg with a full-size bag of Maltesers, full of crunchy delight!

Where to buy – Available in stores nationwide

Mini Eggs – Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely is perfect for anyone finding it difficult to choose which egg to go for,  made with Belgian Fairtrade dark, dark milk and milk chocolate with almond, hazelnut, pretzel pieces, caramel, nougat and sea salt. The bonus is that it is all plastic free, recyclable packaging.

Available in Fresh Stores, Brown Thomas and Avoca.

Divine 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate with Raspberries Easter Egg

Deliciously rich smooth dark chocolate with bursts of real raspberries in a thick chocolate shell. Suitable for vegans.

Available in Holland and Barret