Earlier this month Fair Trade USA announced that it will increase the minimum price and premium for cocoa beans by 20%. While we are not ones to typically enjoy price increases, this is one price increase that we can really get excited about because it helps create a more sustainable future for cacao farmers and their families. Many of today’s cacao farmers live in extreme poverty, earning only pennies per day, and it’s time to change this.
We’ve been pioneers in the fair trade chocolate movement. Joining more 20 years ago, long before it was trendy or politically correct to be vocal about social and environmental advocacy. For us, it just made sense that, in order to make truly extraordinary chocolates, our business had to focus on a sustainable triple bottom line — caring not only about profit, but about people, and the planet. Paying fair trade market price and fair trade premiums for chocolate ensures that cocoa farmers earn a livable wage, child labor laws are enforced, and sustainable farming practices are used.
If cocoa farmers are not paid enough for their crop, there won’t be any chocolate in the future. Yes, it might sound melodramatic, but it’s true. But the reality is that, with cocoa market prices being at an all-time low, farming is no longer viable and desperate cocoa farmers look to other forms of farming in order to lift their families out of poverty. Deforestation continues to happen, as cocoa farmers struggle to increase their yield, just to earn a little more. That’s why we are willing to pay more for not only fair trade chocolate, but for other fair trade ingredients like sugar, coffee, and vanilla. We owe it to you, to our planet, and most of all, to the cocoa farmers to continue to raise the bar.
Starting in October, Fair Trade USA will increase the minimum price for fair trade cocoa from $2,000 to $2,400 per metric ton, while also increasing the fair trade premium from $200 to $240 per metric ton. But, it is enough? While this price increase may not completely solve the poverty issue that today’s cocoa farmers are facing, it’s a start, and we’ve got to start somewhere.
The demand for chocolate is at an all-time high. But, the sad reality it that much of the fair trade cocoa that is produced is not sold at the fair trade price, simply because there is not enough demand on the market. We need chocolate lovers everywhere to appreciate the value of fair trade chocolate and to join us in making a change. For you, the customer this means buying only fair trade chocolate. The cocoa farmers deserve better. The planet deserves better. And you deserve better. In purchasing 100% fair trade chocolate and supporting fair trade price increases, we hope to lead by example so that others in the chocolate industry will be inspired to do better. Together, in supporting fair trade chocolate, we can start to make a difference in the world.