Posts Tagged ‘fair trade’

What is the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership?

April 19, 2015

An assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations. — John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want

TTIP is a secret trade deal between US and EU that will give global corporations unprecedented powers over our lives, as if they did not control us already, they will be able to sue governments in secret trade courts.

TTIP is so secret that even Members of the European Parliament are kept in the dark. What we do know, has come via leeks.

Yesterday, demonstrations took place across Europe against TTIP.

TTIP will reduce environmental protections, reduce food safeguards, removal of employment protection, making draconian intellectual property rights even more so, loosening of banking regulations, sell-off of NHS …

In other words, it is a Charter or Bill of Rights for Corporations, at the very time when we are celebrating Magna Carta.

KFC is lobbying for a lowering of food safety. Can what is served by KFC actually get any worse?

Do we want KFC, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, dictating what we eat and drink, dictating what employment conditions shuuld be?

David Cameron is pushing TTIP. Labour is not opposing TTIP. The Green Party are opposed.

Costa Foundation

August 22, 2012
Costa Foundation

Costa Foundation

The Costa Foundation claims to be working hard to improve the lives of many in their coffee growing communities.

The best way to do so is to pay a fair price for coffee!

What actually are they doing, where do the funds go, who provides the money?

What better place to ask than a Costa Coffee shop. And that is what I did.

In front of the counter was a collecting plate (not exactly secure) and junk trinkets to buy.

I asked, where does the money go?

The girl did not know, suggested I asked someone else, but made the point she did not pocket the money.

What I wanted to know was, who was making the contributions, as it seemed to be the customers, with Costa claiming the credit.

I asked another member of staff, if I put a fiver in this collection will Costa match it?

She did not think so.

Ok, do Costa pay a fair price for coffee from these producer countries as that is the best way to help the local communities?

Again did not know, but did not think so, helpfully adding Costa did serve Fair Trade coffee.

Ok, where does your milk come from?

This she did know, we buy it locally.

This surprised me as Costa are not known for buying locally.

I asked did she know where the milk came from?

Yes, she did, and went off to get a carton of milk to show me.

It came from Freshways (this I knew already). Freshways is one of the milk companies targeted by farmers for failing to pay a fair price for milk. Freshways buy milk on the spot market. Freshways have been buying milk in from Belgium to keep the price paid to farmers artificially low.

If Costa do not support farmers in England, why should we believe they are helping coffee growers abroad?

The Costa Foundation appears to be greewwash, all Costa is doing is handing over money donated by customers with Costa claiming the credit.

The attitude of the staff in the Coffee shop was we only work here.

If Costa Foundation was an important part of Costa the staff would know about it.

Contrast with Lush, who do support good causes, who will match pound for pound, where the staff can tell you all about what they are supporting.

Last year I was at a fund raising party for a film. Lush were matching pound for pound the money raised.

On the Costa Coffee website it lists various success stories, but no figures are provided, and asks would you like to donate but no link to enable you to donate.

But why should we donate? Should the donation not be coming from Costa, or at the very least matched funding?

If you do wish to donate, then contact War on Want or World Development Movement who work with sister organisations and ask where you can donate.

The best way to help coffee growers, is to support independent coffee shops who only serve Fair Trade tea and coffee, and suggest to them that maybe with the support of the countries, they could support a project in a coffee growing country. If they have the facilities, ask them to show the film Black Gold.

For a $3 cup of a coffee, a farmer earns three cents.

I saw Black Gold premièred at an international film festival and met the directors. What makes it so powerful, apart from the stunning cinematography, is the stark contrast between coffee shops like Starbucks and Costa and the price being paid for a cup of coffee and the harsh working conditions of the farmers and the price paid for a kilo of coffee beans.

If farmers were paid a fair price for their coffee, they would be able to afford to send their children to school.

If farmers were paid a fair price they would not be dependent on the ‘generosity’ of Costa in doling out money donated by their customers.

Costa, with your help, hope to raise £750,000. No information on what has actually been raised. But why do Costa not simply hand over £750,000 if they are so keen to make a difference, or better still simply pay a fairer price for coffee?

To put this figure in context, Veg, aka nine-year-old Martha Payne, has raised through her food blog NeverSeconds, over £113,000 for a school kitchen in Malawi, and is now heading out to Malawi to open the kitchen, to be known as Friends of NeverSeconds.

Top Story in Fair Trade Daily (Thursday 23 August 2012).

The sweet smell of exploitation‏

April 7, 2011
the sweet smell of exploitation‏

the sweet smell of exploitation‏

Meya Nasille

Meya Nasille

Supermarkets profit, while flower workers toil for 16 pence an hour

We use flowers to mark every occasion. Last Sunday hundreds of thousands headed to the supermarkets to buy the perfect bouquet for Mother’s Day. But the flowers we bought are likely to have been produced by a woman being exploited on a flower plantation somewhere in the developing world.

In fact, thousands of women in Zambia and Colombia are being forced to work 15 hours a day, 6 days a week, for as little as 16 pence an hour, to supply flowers for UK supermarkets.

Meya works on a flower farm in Zambia. In the lead up to Mother’s Day, she was forced to work longer and longer hours to meet the demand from supermarkets.

UK supermarkets have codes of conduct which state that workers should be provided with protective wear to prevent harmful exposure to pesticides. But Meya has never been given any form of protective clothing. Women exposed to pesticides without adequate protection often report sickness, including swollen legs, backache, vomiting and chest pains. Worse still, Meya is being paid just 16 pence an hour. This is not enough to cover even her basic living costs.

War on Want is working with grassroots organisations that directly support workers such as Meya. For example their partner in Zambia has won real improvements in conditions on several farms, including the provision of protective wear and a stricter adherence to working hours, with overtime properly compensated. But there are still thousands of workers toiling for poverty wages.

Green beans from Kenya. Waterways polluted.

Many are now being kicked off their land by Big Business, the land then used to grow bio-fuels.

Land that first and foremost should be used to grow food by local farmers for local people, not cash crops that benefit the few.

The Story of Stuff

October 9, 2010

In the natural world there is no such thing as waste either in time or space. The output of one process is the input to another.

All loops should be closed. We should either use natural materials that can be reused, recycled or composted; or our manmade materials should parallel the natural world and form closed loops. We should have zero waste. All toxic materials should be eliminated.

All trade should be fairtrade.

Also see

The Story of Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics – Our Environmental Policy

whydark* from chocolate organiko in Madrid

September 14, 2010


‘In 2006 we made our dream a reality, we set up a small chocolate atelier in Madrid, Spain, where we could make and design our own chocolate, all from 100% Organic Trinitario Cocoa Beans from the Dominican Republic and Trinidad Island.’ — chocolate organiko

“If I had made a prediction before conducting the tests, I would have picked green tea as having the most antioxidant activity. When we compared one serving of each beverage, the cocoa turned out to be the highest in antioxidant activity, and that was surprising to me.” — Chang Lee

I was never a fan of dark chocolate, until I tried Green and Black. I had a South African friend Estie and she complained to me English chocolate was rubbish. I gave her Green and Black and she was happy.

Green and Black was founded to produce quality chocolate. It was made outside the UK as they felt no one was capable in the UK of producing quality chocolate. It was therefore a pity they sold out to Cadbury. Cadbury have in turn now sold out to Kraft.

whydark* from chocolate organiko puts Green and Black in the shade. It is divine. But it is pricey.

I first came across whydark* in Infinity Foods, then Taj the grocer on trips to Brighton. I bought it for my lovely friend Sian. I tried a bit, then a bit more, and before I knew it, it had all gone.

I have suggested Grocer and Grain stock it and will also recommend it to The Deli.

Spain is not a country that springs to mind when I think of chocolate, and yet that is where this quality chocolate originates from.

Chocolate organiko was founded to produce quality chocolate. The cocoa used comes from Organic Trinitario Cocoa Beans from the Dominican Republic and Trinidad Island.

The whydark* I have tried was 65% organic. There is also a 75%.

Dark chocolate is seen by many as a super food. This is due to the presence of antioxidants. Cocoa contains polyphenols, which are also found in grapes, berries and wine – as well as catechins and epicatechins – found in green tea.

Chang Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University, found that cocoa has nearly twice as many antioxidants as red wine, and up to three times as many as green tea.

Chocolate is also a good source of iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Dark, more cocoa rich, chocolate contains more iron than white chocolate.

A BBC study found eating chocolate was more stimulating than kissing. I guess it would depend on who you were kissing and what you do with a chocolate bar!

Does this mean we can eat loads of chocolate. No. Chocolate is fattening. A recent study I heard on a news or science programme, suggested a small part of a bar of dark chocolate each day ie one small square a day.

But I am always wary of such studies. Who funds them?

Super foods is easy: eat fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and oily fish (and a teeny-weeny bit of organic dark chocolate is ok too).

Luxury organic fairtrade dark chocolate from Tradecraft is almost, but not quite, as good as whydark*. It does though have the advantage of being 2/3 the price and it is fair trade. Which begs the question, why is not whydark* fairtrade? [see Traidcraft launches indulgent chocolate range]

Chocolate beans are grown in a narrow band 10 degrees either side of the equator.

Quality chocolate tends to be single-sourced, not a blend, ie comes from a region, area or even single grower. Such chocolate can be likened to wine, where the growing method, climate, soil will all influence the taste.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range of dark chocolates are single-sourced. At the bottom end of the range we have Sainsbury’s Basics, less than a tenth of the price of whydark*, looking at the list of ingredients, I do not even wish to go there!

Taste the Difference Santo Domingo organic dark chocolate from Sainsbury’s: ‘Bitter sweet with hints of red wine and berry flavours.’ Yeah, right, and pigs fly! Tastes like dark chocolate, and nothing else. Better than mass produced chocolate but not as good as Traidcraft or Green and Black and certainly not in the same league as whydark* from chocolate organiko.

Very Dark Chocolate, 73% cocoa from Montezuma’s is not bad, but not in the same league as whydark*, and certainly cannot justify the high price.

Also see

Introducing the latest superfood … chocolate

Chocolate? Now that is a tasty new treatment

Cocoa ‘vitamin’ health benefits could outshine penicillin

Chocolate eaters may have healthier hearts: study


Traidcraft’s response to BBC Panorama Programme, Chocolate: the Bitter Truth, Wednesday 24 March

Traidcraft launches indulgent chocolate range

Top 10 ethical British chocolates

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