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fair trade is the Linux way

I have recently purchased a large quantity of fair trade chocolate. Fair trade means that the people who produce the products will be paid a fair price for their products which will enable them to send their children to school, pay for adequate health-care, etc. Paying a small price premium on products such as coffee and chocolate usually makes no notable difference to the living expenses of someone in a first-world country such as Australia, but can make a huge difference to the standard of living of the people who produce the products. Also fair-trade products are generally of a very high quality, you are paying for the best quality as well as the best conditions of the workers.

I will share this chocolate at the next LUV meeting, hopefully the people who attend will agree that the chocolate is both of a high quality as well as being good in principle and that they will want to buy it too.

The Fair Trade chocolate I bought cost $6.95 per 100g. I went to Safeway (local bulk food store with low prices) to get prices on other chocolate to compare. Lindt (cheaper Swiss chocolate) costs $3.09 per 100g and has a special of $2.54. The Lindt and the Fair Trade chocolate are both 70%, but the Fair Trade chocolate is significantly smoother, has a slightly better aroma, and a better after-taste. So the Fair Trade chocolate costs slightly more than twice as much as Lindt, but I believe that it has a quality to match the price. Then I compared the price of a cheap chocolate, Cadbury Old Gold chocolate is also 70% cocoa and costs $4.29 for 220g, this makes it between 3.5 and 4.4 times cheaper than the Fair Trade chocolate. But if you like chocolate then Cadbury products probably aren’t on the shopping list anyway. I believe that the Fair Trade chocolate I bought can be justified on the basis of flavor alone without regard to the ethical issues.

All Linux users know what it’s like to have their quality of life restricted by an oppressive monopoly. We are fortunate in that it only affects us in small ways, not in our ability to purchase adequate food and health care. As we oppose software monopolies that hurt us in the computer industry we must also oppose monopolies in the food industry that hurt people in third-world countries. The fair trade programs are the best way I know of doing that. Hopefully after tasting the chocolate many LUV members will want to buy it too.

7 comments to fair trade is the Linux way

  • anonymus

    I am taking a part in the End Child Slavery Campaign for the Oaktree foundation and have been researching the credibility of Australia’s leading brands. I encourage you to update your post as Cadbury chocolate is now co-operating with NGO’s and West Africa Nations to improve the overall labour standards and end illegal practices. If you would like to see the source of my information please visit
    http://www.cadburyschweppes.com/EN/EnvironmentSociety/

  • etbe

    Anon: That’s interesting information, but there was no mention of “Fair Trade” chocolate from Cadbury.

    Also the reason I compared with Cadbury is that they appear to have the leading position in Australian chocolate sales (by observation of what people eat, by the number of paid commercials on TV, and by the shelf space at supermarkets).

    http://www.cadburyschweppes.com/EN/EnvironmentSociety/Environment/commitments.htm

    Their position on the environment (as described in the above URL) is a really good thing. But there is still no mention of Fair Trade (the point of this post).

    Please let me know when Cadbury make Fair Trade chocolate, I’ll buy some and write a review of it.

  • Wendy Jakobson

    Hi, Great posts
    I too am very interested in Fair Trade Chocolate, and agree that the quality is worth the extra price.
    Cadbury’s efforts, while admirable are nothing more than guaranteeing their supply chain. The factors leading to this initiative have little to nothing to do with child slavery, and much to do with the fact that the places where Cadbury’s grows their cocoa is seeing a ageing farmer base, crops yields half what they were 10 years ago and no new farmers taking their place.
    This article by The Economist questions the reasons behind it. (The Economist isn’t exactly ‘left’) so that tells you something.
    http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10609020.
    Cadbury claims that it’s not about price for Ghanaian cocoa as it sells at 10% above the Fairtrade floor price, but about ‘sustainability. Well, the fact remains that the Fairtrade floor price is just that, a floor. Fairtrade agreements pay above current world market prices, not just the floor price. So that’s a red herring. The reality is that 70% of Cadbury’s cocoa comes from Ghan, and it’s simply trying to ensure it can continue to buy it.
    Another article posits that the water wells that Cadbury are building are really to assist the women of the vilage to get their water more efficiently so they can not spend so much time getting water from distant wells, therefore more time around the farm to work, thereby increasing yields.

    If they were so concerned about the farmers they would have done this years ago when the world market price was half what it is now.

    Wendy

  • Cadbury owns Green & Black’s, which is a popular range of Fairtrade chocolate, now readily available in supermarkets and convenience stores.

    I have to say that my favourite is the Cocolo FairTade chocolate, a premium Swiss chocolate. It is also certified by the leading organic certifier in Switzerland, and is GMO free. Cocolo has 8 flavours including Dark Mint Crisp, Almond Chocolate, Dark Bitter Sweet, Dark Orange, Chocolate Milk Hazelnut Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Dark 70% and White with Almond Crunch. Try it out!

  • etbe

    Soul: I’ll look out for that one. One thing I didn’t mention in this post is that it was Green and Black chocolate that I brought to the meeting in question…

    Green and Black chocolate is now sold by Safeway (one of the large supermarket chains in Australia) and costs $4 for a 100g block. It’s only twice as expensive as the Cadbury branded product.

  • Wendy Jakobson

    Just as another FYI, Green and Blacks DOES have one Fair Trade bar in their line.

    Perhaps they could explain about the other 5 or six flavours of bars they have that are not?

    Wendy

  • Susan

    They may have only one bar but they do have other fairtrade items.

    Which of Our Products are Fairtrade?

    All our Maya Gold range is Fairtrade certified (e.g. bars, hot chocolate, Easter eggs). In fact, our original 100g Maya Gold bar was the first product in the UK to be awarded the Fairtrade mark in 1994. Green & Black’s Cocoa Powder is also Fairtrade certified.