July 25, 2022
Image credit: Supplied/Fairtrade ANZ
If we want a world where the environment is protected and everyone is treated with kindness and respect, then one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to buy Fairtrade products.
The “cleanest chocolate in the world” – this is the mission of Lucy Bennetto, founder of the chocolate factory Bennetto natural foods.
The company describes “clean chocolate” as being free from harmful chemicals, ingredients, processes or actions that can harm the environment, soil and people.
This includes the health and well-being of the farmers who grow the cocoa beans used in their chocolate products, the majority of which come from Acopagro, a Fairtrade cooperative in Peru, operating at the foot of the Amazon jungle.
“As chocolate producers, we have the opportunity to create a positive impact through a food that everyone loves,” says Lucy.
“Our hope is that we inspire people around the world to be thoughtful in all aspects of their lives and businesses – not just because it’s enjoyable, but because it’s vital to the continued well-being of people and the world we live in.”
What is Fair Trade ?
Fairtrade is changing the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.
But buying Fairtrade products not only gives consumers confidence that farmers and other workers involved in the production of an item have been properly paid, it also addresses gender equality, environmental protection environment and transparent supply chains.
Fairtrade and the climate crisis
Climate change is the biggest threat to the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers and agricultural workers in low-income countries around the world.
As extreme weather events become more frequent, fertile soils are lost and crop diseases spread, forcing farmers to take on more and more debt to stay operational.
These debts, coupled with already low incomes, also mean that these farmers cannot invest in different practices and technologies needed to combat climate change.
But for Fairtrade farmers it is different.
Fairtrade helps farmers earn more for their crops, and with more money in their pockets to cover life’s basic needs, they can invest in more environmentally friendly choices.
Australian Fairtrade products
Brands bearing the Fairtrade mark have been certified to pay fair wages, ensure transparent supply chains and support programs that help women, children and the environment.
Here are some examples of Aussie Fairtrade companies doing it right:
As mentioned above, Bennetto Natural Foods founder Lucy Bennetto is on a mission to produce the “cleanest chocolate in the world.”
For Lucy, being Fairtrade and organic certified was key from the start. She even traveled to the Dominican Republic to see with her own eyes how cocoa beans were grown.
“It was then that she realized how imperative ethical sourcing from organic and fair trade cocoa was to her chocolate making values and how these practices not only improve lives , but also the quality and flavor of the cocoa,” a company spokesperson said.
Just Planet Roastery & Espresso Bar has been serving Fairtrade artisan coffees in Sunbury, Victoria for over 12 years. They also sell their roasted coffee beans to other cafes, restaurants and homes in Australia.
Lee and Norman Palumbo started the business “with a plan to create a place that brings people together and brings positive change to Fairtrade co-operatives around the world”.
“We support small sustainable, organic and forestry farms that cause the least disruption to the natural environment.
“Many Fairtrade cooperatives we support also use the funds raised to increase sustainable practices in their local areas.”
This Melbourne-based street fashion brand is known for its use of natural and cruelty-free materials. But it’s also B Corp, Certified Social Traders and FairTrade.
“Etiko is fiercely committed to being truly ethical, ensuring that everyone in our supply chain, from cotton farmers to apparel manufacturers, receives a living wage, as well as comprehensive medical care, and sees themselves ensure a safe and clean working environment,” a company spokesperson said.
More recently, Etiko launched a carbon offset program, which helps farmers in East Timor plant trees in deforested areas of the country.
All varieties of tea purchased by SereniTEA to create their loose leaf blends are Fair Trade Certified and Organic.
“Our belief in organic and Fairtrade certifications is intrinsic to our vision as a company,” a company spokesperson said.
“The farmers we source from have organic plantations that cause little or no soil erosion. This includes a biodiverse integrated farming method where other trees are mixed with tea bushes.
This more sustainable approach means that farmers produce a lower yield in the short term, but the environment is preserved in the long term.
“And being Fairtrade farmers allows them to use their extra Fairtrade premium to do things like buy cows and goats. These animals allow them to cultivate more efficiently but also to use the dung as a basis for organic compost to naturally fertilize the tea plants.
Lucie was 18 months old when her parents started a business, working with coffee farmers using environmentally friendly practices. They wanted their daughter to be connected to a global social and environmental movement.
Fast forward to now and Lucie has grown up and joined the family business.
Montville Coffee supports a network of farming families and communities. “We believe in taking positive action, especially when doing so improves the lives of the farming communities that grow the coffees we roast and reduces the negative impact on the environment,” says Lucie.
“Through our long-standing relationship with Fairtrade, we have seen this transformative impact firsthand. From improving living conditions through clean water projects, empowering children and youth through access to education and training in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, to empowering women to start their own cooperative in Peru and Indonesia.
This article is brought to you by Fairtrade Australia New Zealand (ANZ).