The Aussie companies kicking Fairtrade goals
The ‘cleanest chocolate on Earth’ – that’s the mission driving Lucy Bennetto, founder of chocolate company Bennetto Natural Foods.
The company describes ‘clean chocolate’ as being free of harmful chemicals, ingredients, processes or actions that can cause harm to the environment, soil and people.
This includes the health and welfare of the farmers that grow the cocoa beans used in their chocolate products, which are entirely sourced and certified through Fairtrade. The majority comes from Acopagro, a Fairtrade cooperative in Peru, operating at the base of the Amazon jungle and the rest are from collections of cooperatives in Ecuador and Madagascar.
“As chocolate producers we have the opportunity to create positive impact through a food that everyone loves,” says Lucy.
“Our hope is that we inspire people everywhere to be thoughtful in every aspect of their lives and business – not just because it’s nice, but because it’s vital to the continued wellbeing of the people and the world we live in.”
What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.
But buying Fairtrade products doesn’t just give consumers the confidence that farmers and other workers involved in the production of an item were paid properly, it also addresses gender equality, environmental protection and transparent supply chains.
Fairtrade and the climate crisis
Climate change is the biggest threat to the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers and agricultural workers in low-income countries worldwide.
As extreme weather events become increasingly frequent, fertile soil is lost and crop diseases are spread, resulting in famers facing rising debts to stay operational.
These debts, alongside already low incomes, also mean these famers can’t invest in different practices and technologies needed to help fight climate change.
But for Fairtrade farmers, it’s different.
Fairtrade helps farmers earn more for their crops, and with more money in their pockets to cover life’s basic essentials, they can invest in making more environmentally sustainable choices.
Australian Fairtrade products
Brands carrying the Fairtrade mark have been certified to be paying fair wages, ensuring transparent supply chains, and supporting programs to assist women, children, and the environment.
Here’s some examples of Aussie Fairtrade companies doing it right:
As mentioned above, founder of Bennetto Natural Foods, Lucy Bennetto, is on a mission to produce the ‘cleanest chocolate on earth’.
For Lucy, being Fairtrade and organic certified was essential right from the start. She even travelled to the Dominican Republic to see first-hand how cocoa beans were grown.
“This was the moment I saw how ethical sourcing from an organic and Fairtrade cocoa supply was imperative to my values and how these practices not only improve lives but also the quality and flavour of cocoa,” says Lucy.
Just Planet Roastery & Espresso Bar have been serving up artisan Fairtrade coffees in Sunbury, Victoria, for over 12 years. They also sell their roasted coffee beans to other cafes, restaurants and homes around Australia.
Lee and Norman Palumbo started the venture “with a plan to create a place that brings people together and to bring positive change to Fairtrade cooperatives around the world”.
“We support forest-grown, organic, small sustainable farms that cause the least amount of disruption to the natural environment.
“Many of the Fairtrade cooperatives we support also use the funds raised to increase sustainable practices in their local regions.”
This Melbourne-based street fashion brand is known for its use of natural, cruelty-free materials. But it’s also B Corp, Social Traders and Fairtrade certified.
“Etiko is fiercely committed to being genuinely ethical, ensuring that everybody in our supply chain from the cotton farmers to the garment makers is paid a living wage, as well as full medical, and is guaranteed a safe and clean working environment,” says Nick Savaidis, Founder & Director of Etiko.
More recently Etiko has introduced a carbon offset program, which helps farmers an East Timor to plant trees in the country’s deforested areas.
All tea varieties sourced by SereniTEA to create their loose-leaf blends are Fairtrade and Organic certified.
“Our belief in Organic and Fairtrade certifications are intrinsic in our vision as a business,” says Ashish, one of the co-founders of the business.
“As we source from various plantations each season, the robust certification standards give us the peace of mind that we are getting a premium and sustainable product.
“The farmers we source from have organic plantations which result in little or no soil erosion. They also integrate biodiverse farming methods where other trees are mixed in with the tea plants, to better assist in soil nutrition and pest management.”
This more sustainable approach means farmers produce a lower yield in the short term, but the environment is looked after long-term.
“And, being Fairtrade certified, means that part of what we buy goes back to the farmers as a Fairtrade Premium, which they can use to invest in their communities at the plantation and better their lives.”
Lucie was 18 months old when her parents started a business, working with coffee growers using practices that protected the environment. They wanted their daughter to be connected to a global social and environmental movement.
Fast forward to now and Lucie has grown up and joined the family business.
Montville Coffee supports a network of farming families and communities. “We believe that it is important to take positive action, especially when this action improves the lives of the farming communities that grow the coffees we roast and reduces the negative impact on the environment,” Lucie says.
“Through our longstanding relationship with Fairtrade we have been able to witness firsthand this transformative impact. From improving living conditions through clean water projects, the empowerment of children and youth through access to education and training in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, to empowering women to start their own cooperative in Peru and Indonesia.”
This article is brought to you by Fairtrade Australia New Zealand (ANZ).