At the risk of sounding all doom and gloom, the consumer choices we make every day have real impacts on other peoples' lives.
So, this Easter season while we fill up on choccie eggs, is there a way to make a smart choice at the checkout?
Yes! says Kate Browne from consumer watchdog CHOICE, and it's not nearly as hard as you'd think.
Why shop ethically?
Apart from the taste, the chocolate that arrives in our Easter baskets has an impact on more than our toddler's tummy.
"We spend three billion dollars a year on chocolate in Australia" Kate explains. "That's not just at Easter but it's been estimated that around 70 percent of the chocolate we consume comes from West Africa, where it's estimated that more than two million children and young people work as labourers, this is young people under the age of 18. These are confronting stats, aren't they? I suspect a lot of people don't realise that's the kind of size of it."
Listen to Kate on Kinderling Conversation
Look for the logo, not the brand
There are a few logos on chocolate and other products that are industry recognised markers of whether or not a product is ethical. That means the people involved in its production have been paid properly, are of age and the standards of production are held up to a code of practice. These products don't necessarily have to be fancy or expensive either, they are available for all budgets, at most supermarkets.
1. Rainforest Alliance
The little green frog logo is most prominent on chocolate and coffee brands such as certain Cadbury, Magnum, and Dove chocolates.
"The Rainforest Alliance Organisation… look very holistically at their production. It's around helping conserve wildlife, safeguard soils waterways but also protect families, workers and the people that produce it," says Kate. "It's important to note however, that there are three different types of Rainforest Alliance logos, depending on how environmentally and socially conscious the product is."
The name Fairtrade is fairly synonymous with ethically sourced products - the added bonus being that they produce delicious chocolate too! Determining if a product is Fairtrade certified is as simple as looking for a logo, says Kate. "They will always carry a logo and that's how you know they're using sustainable work practices and they're using workers that are of age."
Well known brands such as Cadbury, ALDI, Whittakers and Oxfam Australia have Fairtrade certified chocolates, but may not have Easter products that fit those certifications. For example the brands Heart of Chocolate an Choclatier have their Easter specific products meet the Fairtrade certification. They're available at Myer and independent grocers. For a full list of the chocolate brands that have the certification check out the Fairtrade website.
Get ready for Easter with some delicious Fairtrade chocolate eggs! Try the Divine Rich Dark Egg with Mint Crisp, which is also vegan. Use the coupon code HOCEASTER-IG for a 10% discount on all Easter items until the 2nd of April. www.heartofchocolate.com.au/easter #easter #divine #fairtrade #chocolate #delicious #heartofchocolate #vegan #mintchocolate #divinechocolate #veganchocolate #chocolateeggs #eastereggs
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3. UTZ products
UTZ products come from a program and label for sustainable farming; they are a recognised marker for ethical products in over 116 countries and on over 10,000 products. Plus, they're the largest program for sustainable farming and work practices of coffee and cocoa in the whole world.
One size does not fit all
Kate says that while some brands have these logos on certain products (for example Cadbury) that doesn't necessarily mean that all of the products they make are ethical or 'fair trade'. If you can't see a label or logo that indicates that that product is certified as ethically produced, it probably isn't.
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