Graphic by Global Exchange
It’ll probably come as little surprise to know that October is this witch’s favoritest month of the year. Now doubly so because it’s also Fair Trade Month. (I even registered this domain on Halloween without consciously making the connection. Spooky!)
As I mentioned in my Valentine’s Day post, almost half of the chocolate consumed in this country, including those by Nestlé, Hershey’s, and M&M/Mars, is made from cocoa beans imported from Africa’s Ivory Coast, and largely harvested by child slaves as young as 9. (Learn more about the dark side of chocolate here.)
This All Hallow’s Eve, choose some quality fair-trade quality for your little ghouls and ghosties. Fair trade ensures that farmers and artisans are paid what their countries of origin consider a living wage, and that the products they produce are sweatshop- and child-labor-free.
How do you tell if something is fair trade? Look for this label of certification on the packaging, which means that the product complies with the economic, social, and environmental criteria as laid out by Transfair USA.
As Green LA Girl points out, however, the certification covers only the product itself, not the entire company. For example, is Starbucks’ Cafe Estima blend fair trade? Yes, it is, indeedy. Is the rest of Starbucks’ coffee fair trade, as well? Not on your life.
To help you get in the spirit, as it were, and turn up some ol’ black magic without the fog machine, Global Exchange has put together a screamingly delicious fair-trade action kit, comprising Equal Exchange’s fair-trade (and organic, natch) chocolate candy in a biodegradable bag, a poster identifying your family as a fair-trade haunt, postcards to hand out, a recycled trick-or-treat bag, and traditional Papel Picado Mexican party streamers for only $15. (Use the coupon code “ftm2006″ on orders more than $20 for a 10 percent discount.) And while you’re at it, print up a postcard or two to let Nestlé U.S.A. know how you feel about their frightful purchasing choices.
You can also stave away little ravenous monsters with Endangered Species’ ethically traded Halloween bite-size treats (reviewed on the CandyBlog). Canadian readers also have the option of Chocoland’s fair-trade-certified, organic delectables.
[via Green LA Girl]
To stretch out the theme of kids helping out other kids this October 31st, ask them if they’d like to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, and collect change while they’re making their toothsome rounds. (Kits are free.)
You’ll also find more spine-chilling yet green Halloween tips and tricks at Care2.com and Environmental Defense, so you can wait for the Great Pumpkin to rise out of the pumpkin patch with eco-finesse.