Recession-hit, saddled with student debt and no hope in hell of a job, the last thing on the mind of a young graduate such as myself might be spending a bit extra to help an unknown, unseen cocoa farmer…
But does it actually cost more?
If you’ve come across STOP THE TRAFFIK before you have probably encountered our chocolate campaign (if not read about it here). We want large chocolate companies to change the way they source their cocoa and take responsibility to eradicate the child trafficking that’s in their supply chain.
To succeed we know the first step is encouraging you, and every other person that buys chocolate to change their shopping habits. Look for the Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified logos, they are certification marks and their stamp on a chocolate product means the cocoa has not been harvested by trafficked children. If we vote with what we buy companies will listen.
Many of the conversations I have with people about the campaign involve the same counter-arguments, so I thought I would run through a few of them and see how to get around the perceived barriers to consuming with anti-trafficking in mind. I have lots to say about it, so this will take a few posts!
It’s too expensive.
This is often the first cry that I hear, and in some cases it’s understandable.
But here’s the key: certified goods are no longer luxury goods. Ethical living has moved on from the days when it was solely confined to upmarket chocolates and a selection of fruit and vegetables. The spread of certification into mainstream groceries has been incredible.
All of Sainsbury’s tea, coffee and sugar are Fairtrade. Same goes for the Co-op, along with their chocolate. Even Tesco have Rainforest Alliance certified milk chocolate. The demand for certified goods is increasing in range and volume.
Now, that’s all very well, but in some instances there is still a small price difference. So here’s an argument I use to justify it to myself.
Many of us have spent money unnecessarily at some point- and some more than others. As a student, I (and many of my friends) drank more than we should have done on several occasions. There are clothes I don’t need, food that’s gone rotten in my fridge and bus journeys I’ve taken when I could have walked.
A little maths then, if you don’t mind. Let’s imagine I bought a pint last night which I really didn’t need, and it set me back £3.00. With a little thought, I could have kept that in my pocket and spent two months buying Fairtrade bananas over uncertified bananas.
There’s the crux of the argument. It’s not impossible to adjust your budget in order to keep trafficking in mind when you shop. In fact, it’s very possible.