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Just Chocolate?

It really is no news flash to anyone who knows, or to be honest has ever spent more than ten minutes with me, that I am a chocolate fiend. There are times when I wouldn’t even like to admit quite how high my chocolate consumption rates have been. I just can’t imagine life without it.

It's not just chocolate for me, I'm sure it's not just chocolate for all my fellow chocolate-lovers (or fellow humans?!) out there, and neither is it just chocolate when it comes to positively impacting the lives of others. Just choose Fairtrade.

Why? It’s a simple switch that may cost you fractionally more, but will make a world of difference to the farmer whose cocoa went into that bar. Fairtrade sets and checks social, economic and environmental standards for companies, farmers and workers so that pay is fair, workers' rights are respected and local communities are invested in.

What does that mean for chocolate? The shocking truth beneath the wrapper of your typical chocolate bar is that the farmer who grew that cocoa likely (over)worked in gruelling conditions not even earning enough for basics such as food, housing or education. On average, they only earn only 6% of the final value of that bar and the typical cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire is paid just $1 per day!

By picking up just any chocolate from the supermarket we play a part in exacerbating the poverty, discrimination and exploitation of cocoa farmers and workers.

What can we do? The Fairtrade mark on a chocolate bar indicates that the cocoa farmer was paid at least the Fairtrade minimum price (a set amount that doesn’t fluctuate with the market price of cocoa) and the farmers’ association (the cooperative) receives a Fairtrade premium which is an additional amount to be invested as they see best in their community – schools, housing, fresh water supplies, etc.

Choosing Fairtrade chocolate is one of the simplest, and cheapest, ways for us to really make a difference to the lives of others. The power of our choice to spend £1 more when selecting a bar of chocolate is surely worth embracing?

Some personal faves from my birthday gift selection (people know me well!).

OMG I am obsessed. The packaging alone is just gorgeous. This bakery in Suffolk make small batch chocolate from beans imported directly by them from family farms and cooperatives around the world. You can check out the profiles of the farms on their website. And honestly the chocolate just tastes SO GOOD.

I’ve long been a fan of this company local to my hometown. Their chocolate is fun, quirky, DELICIOUS and ethical. Oh, and every part of the packaging is recyclable, biodegradable or compostable. Really, what’s not to love?

A new one to me, but HELLO deliciousness. Ethically sourced and whipped up by Swiss chocolatiers (who clearly know what they’re doing!), my 85% had no whiff of bitter and was super smooth.

We hit a slight problem here as this bar made it to my birthday gift pile but the company doesn’t appear to use Fairtrade cocoa. However, they are a social enterprise that sets aside 60p of every £1 profit to further their aims of supporting and empowering people with Autism. Watch this space as I contact them to find out more about their cocoa sourcing...

Not in the photo (I’d already eaten most of the bar!) but 150% worth a mention. I am a BIG FAN of these big bars - finally a chocolate bar that I don't get through in two days! Their mission is to make all chocolate 100% slave free, starting with their own. I’m SO on-board!

While my birthday chocolate collection isn’t necessarily the cheapest selection, you can find Co-op’s own Fairtrade range for just £1.60 a bar. So there’s really no excuse!

In season one of the Worldly Wellbeing Podcast we talked about our struggles and our suggestions to shopping sustainably in the episode Conscious and Conscience.


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