Some, but not yet all, of Green & Black’s organic chocolate bars are fairtrade certified. But they have announced that not only are they on track to met their pledge of being entirely Fairtrade by the end of 2011, and in the UK they have already achieved that goal. This includes both chocolate bars and drinking chocolate.
This is good news for chocolate lovers who want to spend their money ethically.
According to this article in The Guardian, by Rebecca Smithers, Fairtrade chocolate sales quadrupled in 2010, making chocolate the largest Fairtrade sector.
But is Fairtrade as fair as we think? According to the study Fair Trade Without the Froth by the Institute of Economic Affairs, fairtrade is probably neither as good as some claims imply, nor as bad as its detractors would have us believe. It does provide certain benefits, such as “guaranteed prices, a social premium and the enforcement of particular labour conditions”. On the other hand, start up costs put it out of reach of producers in many poorer countries. And, the report does make the point that there are other social labelling initiatives that “perhaps have more transparent objectives”.
What does all this mean? Well, for this writer (and chocoholic), it means continuing to support Fairtrade, but not at the exclusion of other ethical organisations, such as the Rainforest Alliance.