Equal Exchange Chocolates are organic and fair trade. So what?
The following was taken from the Equal Exchange's website. We think it is important. Besides... the chocolate is delicious!!!! Come taste for yourself.
What Makes Fair Trade Cocoa And Chocolate Products Different?
We source our cacao exclusively from small-scale farmer co-ops in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Ecuador and Peru. The farmers own their land and control their livelihoods. As co-op members, together they choose how to invest Fair Trade premiums in their communities, such as installing wells for drinking water, a nursery for cacao plants, or a new school. For an industry traditionally rooted in exploitation – and a reliance on child slave labor – this is a big feat.
In 2000 and 2001, journalists documented the continued practice of forced child labor in the West African cocoa trade—source of 70% of the world's cocoa. Since the Ivory Coast in West Africa alone produces 40% of the world's cocoa, its beans are mixed into almost every brand of mass-produced chocolate. Yet, corporations of the global cocoa/chocolate trade - companies like Hershey's, Mars, Nestlé, Russell Stover, Cargill, and ADM - have done little to address this problem.
Most cocoa on the world market is bought "blind" through importers and brokers, but Equal Exchange's fairly traded cocoa is monitored - from the farmers to the store shelf - by independent, non-profit, certifying organizations that guarantee that the cocoa was produced and traded in a socially responsible manner, specifically that:
International Labor Organization Conventions 29, 105 and 138 on child labor and forced labor are adhered to.
the cocoa was bought directly from a democratically controlled co-operative of small scale farmers. This helps them gain more control of their livelihoods and ensures farmers a higher percentage of cocoa export revenues.