Consumers, businesses and community groups choose Fair Trade chocolate this Halloween
Ottawa, ON – There’s a whole new concern seizing chocolate lovers this Halloween, and it isn’t related to fuller waistlines.
Fair Trade chocolate has been cropping up more and more in Ottawa’s stores, with a particular concentration of Fair Trade products available in Westboro. It’s no surprise, then, that the Wickedly Westboro celebrations will be asking children and parents alike to ask where their chocolate comes from.
The Wickedly Westboro celebrations are slated to take place on October 29 from 10am to 4pm, and the diverse line-up already includes the spooky scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving at the Superstore, and a spectacle from magician Elliot Smith. But whether it be through Ten Thousand Villages’ Fair Trade Halloween costume contest or the Camino chocolate that children will receive in their goody bags, it seems that Fair Trade will be on everyone’s mind at Wickedly Westboro.
Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable (FTOÉ), a local coalition with the purpose of promoting Fair Trade in Ottawa, has been collaborating with the Westboro BIA to bring a Fair Trade message to the Wickedly Westboro celebrations. This is only one of the events that FTOÉ has been involved in as part of the national Fair Trade Halloween campaign initiated by the Canadian Fair Trade Network. Volunteers will be selling Fair Trade chocolate on the University of Ottawa campus on October 20 and the Carleton campus on October 26, with other events taking place throughout October. FTOÉ will also be working with local businesses to make sure that parents know where they can buy Fair Trade chocolate to hand out to trick-or-treaters this year.
While Halloween candy may seem too small to make a big difference, it makes up 8% of the chocolate consumed annually in North America. Only 0.1% of the world’s cocoa is Fair Trade, which is a big problem for Lia Walsh, a University of Ottawa doctoral student and FTOÉ volunteer. “Cocoa production is known for being particularly exploitative. We’re talking about child labour, dangerous working conditions, and poverty wages, if the workers are getting paid at all. It’s simply not possible to grow cocoa in the world’s wealthiest countries—it falls to producers in parts of the world where Fair Trade is the only reasonable reassurance that people aren’t being exploited.”
So what can consumers do to make sure that they can feel good about the treats they’re handing out this Halloween? “Fair Trade is becoming more and more popular,” says Walsh. “Smaller companies like Camino and Green&Black’s have certified all of their products as Fair Trade and organic, and they’re even available in the organic aisle of most supermarkets. Even larger companies like Cadbury are finding that there’s a market for Fair Trade. They recently got Fair Trade certification for their Dairy Milk bar, which is great because it means that now we can walk into any corner store and buy Fair Trade chocolate.”
Fair Trade chocolate ensures fair wages, safe working conditions and environmental sustainability, as well as guaranteeing that no child labour was involved in production.
Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable (FTOÉ)
Works to promote Fair Trade in Ottawa with the final aim of achieving Fair Trade status for the City of Ottawa according to the criteria set forth by Fairtrade Canada. FTOÉ is a coalition of volunteers that encourages the community to get involved in the effort to promote Fair Trade as an alternative model of consumerism. For more information, visit http://www.fairtradeottawa.ca.