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What is Fairly Traded Cacao?

Farmer’s Fair Trade

It may sound like a silly question, but what is ethical chocolate? Quite simply, it means that the chocolate you’re consuming has been produced with the best intentions for the farmers and the planet in mind.

Only 12% of UK chocolate sales is Fair Trade, so here at Mr Popple’s Chocolate, fairness and sustainability are at the top of our agenda. It’s our goal to unwrap the story behind the organic chocolate, and let you in on the bittersweet secret behind fairly traded cacao. 

We work hard to follow the core principles of Fair Trade, to make our chocolate producing process as fair as it can be to those at every step of the journey. We source cacao that follows these Fair Trade ethics and values all the way. Knowing that our palm oil free chocolate bars give back to the hardworking farmers in South America will never leave a bitter taste in your mouth. 

The Nitty Gritty

Our organic fairly traded chocolate is not only super tasty, but it does good at all ends. Despite chocolate’s popularity, non-Fairtrade farmers are not reaping any rewards for their hard work. 

Farmer’s Fair Trade is designed to create sustainable incomes for not only the farmers, but their families and large communities as well. Buyers of Fair Trade produce are helping build these communities, with many contributions going towards making clean drinking water more accessible, helping build infrastructure and establishing health clinics and schools in the local area. Giving these hard working cacao farmers their fair payment, gives them an opportunity grow as society and improve and invest in their businesses, resulting in better quality crops. This means better opportunities for their futures and more income to improve their farms, and giver better training to growing work force.

The Darker Side

The ethics surrounding chocolate can be somewhat sketchy. Sadly, many farmers are unaware of the value of their cocoa and where it will end up. You may be surprised to learn that on average, cocoa farmers earn just 6% of the final value of a bar of chocolate. A typical cacao farmer may see less than 80p a day, whilst the UK industry reaps 4 billion pounds a year! With the global cacao industry rising massively every year, these low prices and increasing need for fertilisers often create labour shortage, leading to slave labour. If payment was fair, the farmers can afford to pay their workers a good living wage, eradicating slave labour from the supply chain. Other factors play into the negative impacts on the cacao industry.

With the current climate changing, and weather worsening and becoming more extreme, cacao crops are at risk. Crop disease is becoming more and more common, meaning many of the Theobroma Cacao trees are dying. Workers that aren’t paid fairly, risk losing even more money from the decreasing crop numbers. Without Fairtrade protection, many farmers can fall victim to discrimination and exploitation. As well as this, their community’s livelihood is suffering from the effects of deforestation. Buying cacao that is fairly traded ensures that both mother nature and her workers are both protected. 

A farmer cutting open a cacao pod to get the beans.

The Good Stuff

Our bean-to-bar approach means that we have complete control over what goes into our chocolate and where it comes from. 

Mr Popple’s Chocolate sources its cacao from a co-op run farm in Peru, where agroforestry techniques are used to grow our cacao. This means the cacao trees that the cacao pods are harvested from grow naturally under the canopy of the larger trees in the rainforest, so no trees are needed to be cut down in order to grow our cacao. By cutting out the middlemen, we are able to pay the hard-working farmers a fair price and let them carry on growing their cacao in these sustainable ways. Fair trade farmers are paid a guaranteed rate for their beans, regardless of market fluctuations. This means that the money that farmers receive is guaranteed to never drop below market price. A win-win! We think fairness tastes better, that’s why we’ll never skimp on our ethical cacao.

I want to buy into a good cause, but isn’t Fairly Traded more expensive?

Not necessarily! Some fairly traded products actually work out cheaper than many non-fair trade items. Buying fairly traded is the best way for consumers to make ethical purchasing choices and decisions. Knowing that more of the money you spend buying fairly traded products goes towards the hard working force in the cacao farms is an amazing incentive to carry on doing it. This gives them the opportunity to create better quality crops, meaning better produce meaning tastier gourmet chocolate for you! It also means that their communities thrive, and develop amazing opportunities to grow. This is all thanks to you!

The Rules

There are certain requirements that need to be followed or maintained to be able to be certified Fairtrade. Mr Popple’s Chocolate follows these principles to the core, believing all of these rules are individually important, regardless of the fair trade label.

1) Opportunities for disadvantaged producers – This means that the fair pay for our hard working farmers is enough to create opportunities for their communities and farms.
2) Transparency and Accountability – All of our cacao can be sourced back to where it was farmed, and all employees, members and producers are involved in the decision-making processes.
3) Fair trade practices – We express concern for social, economic and environmental well-being of small producers, conduct all trade in a fair and transparent way and protect cultural identity and traditional skills.
4) Fair Payment – We buy our cacao that provides fair pay to the producers and can also be sustained by the market.
5) No child labour and no forced labour – Making sure that the farm industry we source our cacao from adheres to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national/local laws on employment of children; ensuring there is no forced labour in its workforce, members or home workers. 
6) No discrimination – Anyone involved in the process of the farming gets equal opportunities to get training, be promoted and retire for example, without discrimination over race, gender, religion, disability etc…. all are equal.
7) Good working conditions – Providing safe and healthy working conditions for all, working hours and conditions comply with national, local and ILO conventions; raising awareness of health and safety issues to improve practices.
8) Capacity Building – Increasing positive impacts on small producers through sourcing fairly traded. This involves developing skills and capabilities.
9) Promote fair trade – We want the world to know all about producers, farms and products that are positively impacted by the fair trade practices.
10) Respect for the environment – Being an ethical company, making sure that every step of the process is as good to the environment as our eco compostable packaging. There is no room for any nasties like dangerous agro-chemicals and GMOs, these are all prohibited. 

Next time you are in your local health shop, eco shop or even supermarket, pay attention to which products that you’re buying are fairly traded. Mr Popple’s will always follow the core principles, thats why we make chocolate that tastes good and does good.When all is said and done, all of us at Mr Popple’s Chocolate believe that when it comes to chocolate, fairness tastes better!

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