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I forget sometimes how important buying fair trade is. I don’t want small children working, picking my cocoa beans to survive, and possibly being abused at the same time. I want kids to be kids, to play, laugh and just be. I want a responsible world where people who have the power to make a huge difference do just that. We have the power to, in astronomical numbers, change how companies operate in this world. We can support fair trade products and if they don’t carry them in your local store, ask them to. We live in a world where distributors can get you anything you’d like. It is not much more money to buy fair trade. I would rather pay more and buy fair trade chocolate than to pay a cheaper price to support a company that allows families to not receive a fair wage (i.e. – contributing to the poverty of cocoa farmers) and where children have to work for a living instead of just living.
You can take a minute to take action by sending a letter through Green America to Todd Stitzer, CEO of Cadbury, http://www.greenamericatoday.org/takeaction/cadbury/. Here is a bit from Green America about what is going on with Todd and Cadbury.
England’s leading chocolate bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk, has announced plans to begin using Fair Trade cocoa in summer 2009. The significance of this fantastic news is that Cadbury is the first major chocolate brand to go Fair Trade with one of its main product lines, one of the goals Green America has been striving towards. Cadbury’s announcement proves what Green America has been saying for years: it is viable for a major chocolate bar to go Fair Trade without passing a significant cost increase to consumers. Congratulations on this important victory to all of you who have taken action by buying a Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate bar or writing a letter to bring us to this moment!
The deal, which will bring the Fair Trade label to 15% of the chocolate sold in England, is welcomed by Green America and our allies on both sides of the Atlantic. Increasing the amount of chocolate sold on the Fair Trade market is an important step to improve the lives of farmers around the world.
That doesn’t mean that Cadbury is now a model of sustainability. Here in the US, Cadbury’s chocolates are not Fair Trade Certified™.
By contrast, Green Business Network™ members in the confectionery industry like Sweet Earth Chocolates, Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Divine have been pioneering Fair Trade and sustainable practices for decades, and are 100% Fair Trade.
As we all know, it is critical to write companies to pressure them to improve their performance on human rights and the environment. But it is just as important to thank companies when they make a change for the better, so that company executives can bring an outpouring of positive feedback to their boards, shareholders, and employees to sustain their new, responsible practices and promote more change.
Please join Green America and Fair Trade advocacy organizations around the world in generating as many letters as possible to:
* congratulate Cadbury on the Fair Trade certification of their Dairy Milk bar in the UK
* ask Cadbury, Hershey (Cadbury’s US manufacturer) and Green and Black’s Organic (owned by Cadbury) to expand their commitment to Fair Trade in the United States by introducing more Fair Trade Certified products.
Then, commit to seeking out Fair Trade chocolate for special occasions, such as Easter eggs from Green Business leaders like Sweet Earth Organic and Divine Chocolate, instead of buying Cadbury’s Crème Egg.
Here is the form letter below. You may alter it to say what you want as well. This is the link where you are able to send and alter said letter.
Subject: Thank you for your fair trade commitment!
Dear Todd Stitzer, CEO, Cadbury:
As a conscious consumer and as a member of Green America, I would like to congratulate Cadbury on your plans to earn Fair Trade certification for the Dairy Milk bar in the United Kingdom. Thanks to your company for taking the leadership role among major chocolate brands in earning Fair Trade certification for an iconic chocolate bar with wide distribution and broad public recognition.
Through your leadership, Cadbury will transform the lives of cocoa farmers and their families, while contributing to a higher standard for ethical sourcing among major chocolate brands. Grassroots activists have been pressing major chocolate brands for years to become Fair Trade Certified. I regularly purchase chocolate from companies that offer Fair Trade Certified products in the United States because with each pound of Fair Trade cocoa purchased a fair deal is made with small-scale farmers in Ghana and other cocoa-producing countries. I am appalled at the existence of abusive child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa and do not want to buy chocolate picked by one of the hundreds of thousands of children working under “the worst forms of child labor,” as the US State Department reported. I choose to support companies that source Fair Trade because I believe that farmers should earn a price for their cocoa that allows them to meet their basic needs and have the right to participate in democratic organizations to decide the use of community development funds. Cadbury’s Fair Trade certification is a significant leap forward in resolving these issues and is a landmark for corporate social responsibility.
I look forward to the day that I will be able to buy Fair Trade Certified products from Cadbury in the United States. I am pleased that Cadbury Green and Black’s Organic has one Fair Trade bar and I encourage Cadbury to work with Hershey as your US licensee to extend Fair Trade certification to your entire range of Cadbury and Green & Black’s products.
Families in my community seek out Fair Trade Certified chocolate for special occasions like Easter. Expanding Cadbury’s commitment to Fair Trade in the United States by introducing more Fair Trade Certified products, such as Cadbury Creme Easter Eggs, Mini Eggs, Dairy Milk, and multiple types of Green and Black’s bars would give families in my community a reason to purchase more of Cadbury’s products.
I hope that Cadbury will join with communities like mine across the US to denounce forced and child labor, support small farmers and expand the selection of Fair Trade Certified products available in the United States.
Your City and State
I make the commitment to only buy fair trade, organic chocolate.
I said it!
I remember back in the good old days of this blog I’d do a lot of eco-shopping entries. I’ve since been trying to shave down what I already have. I have always been a pack rat and love to buy stuff. If it wasn’t for the fact that each time I move I am more lazy than obsessed with hording stuff, I’d be one of those guys, you know on Clean Sweep or Cops. See lazy sometimes is good. I donate stuff to the Salvation Army, or those clothes boxes sprinkled throughout NYC, or drag stuff to swap meets in Queens, or bring them to my job and leave them on a counter outside my office, eBay, etc… Someone, somewhere wants my stuff.
I do have a point to all this. I now find I need to do some shopping for a new backpack. I may document this journey further, but for now I just wanted to share some resources I am using to research said bag. By the way, for those interested, my perfect bag would be an eco, fair trade, non sweatshop, sustainable, long lasting, locally made, recycled, durable, solar energy source, super fresh, comfortable, user friendly, big when it needs to be back pack. I am sure I am missing other specs, but you get my point.
For company ratings on social and environmental issues, see Co-op America’s sweatshops.org. The Fair Trade Federation also lists companies committed to “fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide.” If they meet these guidelines I have completed part one of this journey.
OK, let me get started, my backpack is almost in pieces.
Here’s a little blurb about what’s going on with my organic, handmade t-shirt company I run with Ms. Marine Boudeau.
Join us at Pridefest this year in the West Village:
Hudson St. between Abingdon Sq. & West 14th St
Sunday, June 28th, 2009
11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Come check out our handmade, organic, super fresh t-shirt collections, hang out, take pictures and buy plenty of shirts for you, your peeps, lovers, family…
Sign-up for our newsletter to receive any Pridefest updates and possibly discover many other amazing and interesting things.
To learn more about this super gay weekend visit NYC Pride.
Cara & Marine
Founders of Be Nice
Living in NYC, it is strange to wrap my mind around all that nature and chimpanzees swinging around everywhere. I think any of those jobs would be cool. The coffee sniffing, the chimpanzees studying and the farming, but maybe not on such a large scale. I’m more of a fire escape gardener than coffee farmer.
I love organic coffee, chimpanzees and fair trade!!!
Wednesday is hump day, the day that separates where your work week starts from when you work week ends. I thought what a perfect day to take a break and do something quick and easy that will make a positive difference. This day will be reserved for petitions and causes.
Our first lucky “Hump Day” winner is ONE. I first heard of these guys reading Ben and Jerry’s email newsletter. They have partnered with the organization to gain more exposer for their cause. What ONE does is raise public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in the world’s poorest countries.
In their own words, “ONE believes that allocating more of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the world’s poorest countries.
ONE is nonpartisan; there’s only one side in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty. Working on the ground in communities, colleges and churches across the United States, ONE members both educate and ask America’s leaders to increase efforts to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty, from the U.S. budget and presidential elections to specific legislation on debt cancellation, increasing effective international assistance, making trade fair, and fighting corruption.”
They have a lot on their plate and much work to do, so what you can do to help is click on this link and sign the ONE Declaration and have you voice heard. It is super easy. If you want to do more you can visit ONE’s “Take Action” page and spread the word, volunteer, shop to support the cause, etc.
One person can make a difference, so do.
Handling livestock these days is risky business, not the least because humans are increasingly contracting diseases from the animals: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Nipah virus, bird flu, and SARS are a few examples. “Exotic,” and often endangered, animal cuisine provides the conduit for a global pandemic. In China, wet markets display caged and invariably sickly creatures, such as cobras, civet cats, and anteaters, for consumers who want that “taste of the wild.” In Africa, the bushmeat trade is blamed for the spread of Ebola and AIDS.
What is a better time then the dawn of Spring to buy a new scarf? I don’t think there is a better time really. It is sale time in scarfland. We are not at the point quite yet for the super scarf sales, but close enough to start thinking of the perfect one.
Here are some super, fresh choices I found. Three of the scarves were discovered on BranchHome.com, and the last two I found were on OriginalGood.com. I can not review, nor endorse their quality and/or usefulness as I have yet to try any of them, but I like the look, how they were made, and from what. :)
Navy Modular Scarf
Handmade by Galya Rosenfeld, San Francisco, CA
Reclaimed ultrasuede (scraps from the upholstery industry)
59″ long x 3.75″ wide
Galya Rosenfeld’s work sits on the lines between fashion, design, craft, and art. Ruled by mathematic formulas as much as creativity, her designs emerge from the place where whimsy meets pragmatic thought. Her pieces are individually crafted, often without the use of thread, patterns or other tools found in traditional tailoring.
Galya’s pieces have been accepted into the permanent collection of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Handmade by Hiroko Kurihara Designs, Oakland and Berkeley, CA
100% virgin wool from Italy. Material is EU ecologically certified.
62″ long x 8″ – 10″ wide
With each scarf that Hiroko Kurihara Designs sells, they donate a scarf made of recycled polar fleece to a local organization that serves those who are homeless or in transition. This act of giving requires no additional purchase: it’s simply responsible, ethical consumerism.
Hiroko Kurihara Designs’ creations are high quality, uniquely designed and handcrafted in their Oakland and Berkeley California studios from the finest European virgin wool that is EU ecologically certified. They guarantee their crafts(wo)manship and believe in local non-sweatshop manufacturing.
Enjoy the warmth and the style of this scarf and know you are tangibly giving much needed comfort to someone else.
Warm and Fuzzy Scarf
Tibetan refugee artisans
Original Good Store
Recycled Silk and Wool
55 x 6 (in.)
Helping Tibetan refugee artisans by providing new markets for their crafts, these wonderfully happy hand-knotted wool creations are sure to keep you warm. Not only are they handcrafted in Nepal, but they are Fair Trade certified. They are also dry clean only. :)
In the mid-1970s, chicken processors argued that in order to keep up with skyrocketing demand they should be allowed to merely rinse off fecal matter from bird carcasses rather than cut away affected parts. The government gave in to the processors’ request, and the rule stands to this day. A number of studies have since proved that rinsing carcasses, even up to 40 times, is ineffective at dislodging the filth. It’s something to know since the violent motion of factory de-feathering rubber fingers not only works to squirt feces out from the carcasses, it can push filth deep into the crevices of the birds’ skin.
I love coffee so I thought it might be time for an entry on how to obtain a more eco cup of Joe. Not only that, but I only buy Starbuck’s, which I’ve heard rumors might be bad, but honestly I have no idea, it just doesn’t seem right.
What I want to accomplish with this entry is find a coffee that is manufactured and distributed by a Fair Trade company [Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.], that it is organic [Organic farming is a form of agriculture which excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives, and genetically modified organisms.], and the closest one to where I live so I have the smallest carbon footprint [a “measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide”.] I can.
I will put some links of organic, fair trade coffee companies. Out of all these coffees I have only tried Green Mountain and I must say I didn’t love it, but I only tried French Roast [my personal favorite roast] in bulk and only once. Who knows maybe the store filled the bin with another brand, a bad batch, or maybe I’ll like another of their roasts. I am willing to try again, as they seem like such a good company on the whole and they are right next door to me in Vermont. I will try to review all these coffee companies and update this entry as I do.
List of Some Organic, Free Trade Coffee Companies
- Vermont Green Mountain Coffee Roasters [Since 1981, they have been roasting the finest Arabica beans from coffee-growing communities around the world, creating award-winning blends that inspire and delight the senses. Their goal is to provide you with an extraordinary coffee experience that’s environmentally sound, socially just, and undeniably delicious.] They also are the roasters for Newman’s Own Organic Coffee.
- Alter Eco Fair Trade [They offer Fair Trade Certified coffee, tea, sugar, rice]
- Eco Java [All of their “Roasted to order” coffee beans are Bolivian, organic, Fair Trade, and have no defects. Their coffee beans are single-locality (terroir), 100% Arabica (Tipica 80%, Caturra 20%), shade grown in the higher altitudes of the Caranavi region, washed using pure Andes glacier-melt water, sun-dried on wooden table tops and hand selected by “Palliris” (Aymara Indian women food graders).]
- EcoCoffee [All their coffees are sourced from ethically trading and environmentally responsible producers. A premium price is paid to the farmers, who must comply with welfare and eco friendly standards. All coffee is single origin (bar one premium blend of three) and the origin and producer is always clearly identified. We supply only 100% arabica beans, usually shade grown, many certified organic. You will even know the day on which it was roasted (227g packs).]
- Grounds for Change [a family owned and operated coffee roasting business located in the Pacific Northwest. They roast our 100% Fair Trade, Organic coffee in small batches to ensure that you receive the freshest coffee possible. All of their coffee is Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA and their Organic Certification meets the stringent Organic Processor Standards enforced by the United States Federal Government and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The vast majority of the coffee they sell is also Shade Grown Coffee which ensures healthy habitat for migratory birds.]
- Last but not least, Dean’s Beans I think this company seams super serious in a good way.
All Organic and Kosher – Respect for the Quality of Life
All of our fine whole bean specialty coffees are certified organic, kosher coffees, and are roasted in small batches at our beanery in Orange, MA. We know that the planting, care, harvesting and processing of the beans is done in conformity with international standards for the health of the farmer and his environment, as well as the high quality of the bean. The vast use of pesticides in coffee production has serious impact on the ecology of the coffee-growing world and the health of farm communities. Our commitment to only purchase shade grown coffees supports healthy environments for coffee growers and protects critical migratory bird habitat. It is important to us that the quality of our coffees includes respect for the quality of life of our southern partners in the coffee world. And that respect translates into superb tasting coffee for your pleasure.
How a Great Cup of Coffee Makes the World a Better Place
Besides only roasting organic coffees, Dean’s Beans® only purchases beans from villages and importers that are committed to Fair Trade and working towards better economic opportunity, improved health and nutrition in the villages. We promote local empowerment and self-reliance through our Fair Trade purchases and our work with local grassroots development and human rights groups. We also sponsor projects here at home with disenfranchised communities such as Native Americans, the homeless and disabled, and many other groups trying to improve their lives and that of their communities. Every cup you drink and every pound you buy contributes directly to the welfare of coffee growers and consumers.
We only purchase beans from small farmers and cooperatives, largely made up of indigenous peoples working hard to maintain their culture and lifestyles in a hostile world. We do not buy beans from large estates and farms. We’ve been there, and have seen the conditions of chronic poverty and malnutrition within which these farms produce those other coffees. Look in your kitchen – do you know where your beans come from?
Dean’s Beans® represents a fully integrated progressive coffee trade system.
Each player in our cycle of production and distribution, from the farmer to the consumer, participates in socially just and environmentally responsible trade. We hope that all other coffee companies will follow our lead.
We are proud to be a founding member of Cooperative Coffees, Inc., the first roaster’s cooperative created to buy direct, Fair Trade coffee from farmer coops, and make it available to any small roaster who wants to participate in the Fair Trade movement. We are also active members of the Fair Trade Federation, an international organization of dedicated Fair Traders (no poseurs allowed).
A few coffee facts from EcoCoffee,
* Coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world economy, after oil.
* The global coffee industry is worth $60 billion annually.
* Some coffee farmers earn as little as 10 cents a kilo for the coffee they pick by hand.
* Most of the world’s coffee is grown by small-scale coffee farming families.
* 25 million families around the world work in the coffee-fields and totally depend on the coffee crop as their only source of income.
According to the Green Mountain Coffee [GMC] company, every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups— enough to wrap the earth 55 times if placed end-to-end! Those paper cups contain a plastic lining made from a petrochemical that would produce enough energy to heat 8,300 homes. That’s a town the size of Newtown, Connecticut.
What Green Mountain Coffee is doing to combat this situation is work with International Paper to develop a new cup that uses renewable resources and make less of an environmental impact. What they came up with is the ecotainer™ cup, an eco-friendly cup designed for hot stuff. It uses a lining made from corn instead of petrochemicals. I love corn.
Their philosophy on cups is the same philosophy throughout Green Mountain Coffee.
Another cup option I found is Eco-Friendly Coffee Mug. These mugs are made from 100% U.S. grown corn. Completely heat stable, hand wash only and reuse over and over. I’m getting one just to smell it. I am so curious. I don’t love the design from the image, but I will not judge until I see it in real time…
Eating a plant-based diet guards against disease: first in an active way with complex carbohydrates, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Then by default: the more plant foods you eat, the less room you have for animal foods that clog arteries with cholesterol, strain kidneys with excess protein, and burden the heart with saturated fat. Clinical studies have shown that meat-free diets reverse diabetic symptoms and reduce cholesterol levels by about as much as the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs.