When you buy a bar of chocolate, how much of the profit goes towards the farmer that grew the cocoa beans? Not much. Cocoa farmers are some of the poorest people in the world and many of them earn on average about 50 pounds a year.
The truth is that most of the profits go to the large companies and advertising agencies rather than the people that actually grow the food. Fair trade is all about making sure that these farmers get a fair price for what they do.
World Fair Trade Day falls on May 14 this year. Here are a couple of things that we can all do to support these far away farmers and raise awareness about fair trade.
Purchase fair trade products
As someone that writes about food, I don’t readily hear about fair trade here in Singapore. When I purchase a cup of coffee, I’ll admit that I rarely stop to ponder on where the money goes. Do you? But given a choice, I would like to purchase the products knowing that the farmers have been paid a reasonable price.
Thankfully, the Fairtrade SG Network has compiled a list of Singapore restaurants, cafés and supermarkets that sell fair trade products. Included are companies like Cedele, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, Cold Storage and Muji. You can refer to this list (page 6 onwards) for the exact products (mostly coffee).
Tweet about fair trade
Twitter allows a maximum of 140 characters for each tweet. What happens if you use less than that? Well, don’t waste the unused characters!
Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has a very clever and meaningful Fair Tweets campaign that asks you to donate your spare Twitter characters for a worthy cause. The leftover characters can contain a message about World Fair Trade Day and a link to more information, like this:
It’s both fun and meaningful at the same time. Your original tweet can be of any length and the remaining characters would simply fill up with a message about fair trade. Try it!
Incidentally, Ben & Jerry’s also utilises fair trade products in some of their ice cream, such as fair trade cocoa and vanilla extract in Clusterfluff and fair trade sugar in the A Cookie Affair (Milk & Cookies).
Do you currently purchase any fair trade products? What other ways can we support fair trade? Share with us in the comments!