Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is Your Halloween Chocolate Happy? List of Certifide Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate

Quiet cloudy day, turkeys roaming in the field.

At least two times a year we find the excuse to give, receive and enjoy chocolate; Valentine's Day and Halloween. The making of cacao has/had developed into a greedy, nasty, chop-down-the-trees, slave oriented business until relatively recently. To combat this awful type of trade, we now have some civilized guarantees with Certified Fair Trade and Certified Organic Chocolate. You would think this is a no brainer, right? Well, with deep regret, I'm here to tell you, we and the chocolate industry have a long way to go.

I say we because most people are not committed to purchasing double certified chocolate, meaning certified both organic and fair trade. I know certifications can be expensive, and for some small companies like Grenada who are committed to not using pesticides, they still lack the certification. While this particular company "does it right", the only way to know at the check out counter (metaphor for impulse buy) if a chocolate bar is both organic and has good labor practices is through certification. I am surprised that more people do not consider these both in unison.

And the chocolate industry... this is voting with your dollars at its best. If you think the chocolate industry is suddenly going to go warm and fuzzy for humanity and the environment, then I have a mountain with a lake and ocean view on it to sell you. They will not change unless their is money to be made or consumers demand it. That means back to you babe.

So how do you vote with your dollars? By buying only double Certified Organic and Fair Trade chocolate. This is not as easy as you think. There are many chocolates that you think are double certified and they are not. For instance Newman's is organic, not Fair Trade. Divine chocolate is Fair Trade but not organic. Trader Joe's cocoa is Fair trade but not organic and their chocolate bar is organic but not fair trade. Green and Black's is very sneaky; their marketing gives the impression they are both organic and fair trade but only their Maya Gold offering is both. Dagoba is another one - all organic but only one of their bars is certified fair trade. A cynic would say these companies purposely have one line of fair trade which then gives the impression that all of their chocolate is. (are you the cynic?) Rapunzel is also marketed as Fair Trade but they only devote a small paragraph on their website to fair trade and use the word "primarily" when they talk about sourcing. This is a good reason why certification guarantees you get what you are expecting.

Need help? Well, here's a list double Certified Organic and Fair trade chocolate bar companies (the whole company, not just one bar). Notice there are only 11 companies devoted to all of their products being double certified, in the world. If I've missed any, please let me know. It would be nice to have an ongoing list.

Alter Eco
Art Bar
Cocoa Camino
Equal Exchange
Health by Chocolate

Shaman Chocolates
Sjaak's Chocolates
Sweet Earth Chocolates
Terra Nostra
Theo Chocolate
Vital Choice

Some people might say that these companies are not considered the best tasting chocolate, that they have sacrificed flavor for their certifications. I ask you, is sacrificing the environment and our fellow human beings worth a little flavor? You can probably guess my answer.

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