Try these amazing Equal Exchange chocolate bars--woops, looks like someone already has!

My favorite Equal Exchange chocolate bar so far… soon to be devoured!

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, so I’ve been thinking a lot about 1) the people I love, and 2) how much I love chocolate. I confess, I probably won’t be changing my chocolate buying practices around Valentine’s Day—but only because I already eat Fair Trade chocolate two or three times a week!

My new favorite is the Organic Mint Chocolate with a Delicate Crunch from Equal Exchange—this chocolate bar is so good, and reminds me of those Andes chocolate mints I used to get at restaurants as a kid. (Let me know in the comments if there’s another Fair Trade chocolate bar I just have to try!)

Some people stress about finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, but not to worry, the Global Exchange Fair Trade stores have a great selection from handmade soapstone hearts and jewelry to Fair Trade chocolate, of course.

You may already have an answer for why buying Fair Trade chocolate is better for your loved ones, but let me share mine. I like to ask myself the question, what and who do I love? When I think about how much I love chocolate, I can proudly say I love the people who help make chocolate for me to consume a reality.

Daniel Santo, of the COCABO co-operative in Panama. Photo courtesy of La Siembra & Dary Goodrich of Equal Exchange.

Daniel Santo, of the COCABO co-operative in Panama. Photo courtesy of La Siembra & Dary Goodrich of Equal Exchange.

I love supporting farmers who work hard to produce high quality cocoa, and I recognize that families and communities still struggle to provide a livelihood for themselves and their children through agricultural commodities. Their attention and commitment to their work and the cocoa they produce contributes to my love of chocolate. I want cocoa producers to enjoy fair working conditions, and I don’t want my purchasing decisions to support slave labor. There’s definitely no love in that.

Fair Trade certification means that small farmers, like those in the cooperatives that work with Equal Exchange, get to make decisions on their own terms and aren’t bossed around by huge corporations into accepting unfair prices. Buying Fair Trade chocolate is about putting your money where your mouth is—if you don’t believe in forced labor and child slavery, you don’t have to support it. That’s the power of ethical economic alternatives like Fair Trade.

Come to the Global Exchange Fair Trade Stores and Make Valentines!


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This Valentine’s Day we’re excited to celebrate our love of Fair Trade with a special event at our Global Exchange Fair Trade stores: Make Your Own Fair Trade Valentine!

The when and where: Join us Saturday, February 9th in San Francisco, Berkeley, Arlington, or D.C. from 1-4 pm to make your own special Fair Trade Valentine. We’ll have lots of supplies, including markers and maybe even some glitter, plus color-your-own Fair Trade action postcards (see below for details). You just bring the love. And who knows, you might even find that special gift you’ve been searching for!

While you’re there, pick up some Fair Trade chocolate. I’ve heard eating chocolate can lower your stress level–or was it the negative effects of dementors?

Either way, share the love this Valentine’s Day by coming to see us at a Global Exchange Fair Trade store near you on Saturday, or visiting your own local Fair Trade store.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

WorldFinest-Fair-Trade-postTAKE ACTION! Did you read Zarah’s awesome post about our current Fair Trade action? Help us tell World’s Finest Chocolate that finest means Fair Trade by coloring in this great postcard at our Make Your Own Fair Trade Valentine event!

Jessica handwriting Valentine cards going to new Global Exchange members

Update Added 4:30pm 2/7: Apparently this IS a good deal, because I just learned the Valentine Gift Membership Package is close to selling out, so grab yours soon, they are only available while supplies last.


When you’re deciding what to get that special someone for Valentine’s Day, chocolate is a pretty safe bet.

But “Fair Trade” chocolate AND a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world – well that’s even better! Introducing the Global Exchange Valentine Gift Membership Package, which does all of the above. Available now while supplies last.

Global Exchange Valentine Gift Membership Package

Chocolate companies have a nasty tendency to use cocoa grown using child and forced labor.  That’s why it’s important to choose Fair Trade chocolate. Fair Trade certification is designed to achieve the elimination of forced child labor in the production of our chocolate.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there’s no better time to show your love for those you care about AND for the planet and workers around the world.

Global Exchange Valentine Gift Membership Package, up close and personal (tea pictured not included)

Choose a Global Exchange Valentine Gift Membership Package, a truly thoughtful gift that includes:

  • One-Year Membership to Global Exchange;
  • Jumbo chocolate bar (3.5 oz.) from Divine Chocolate
  • Chocolate minis gift bag from Equal Exchange
  • Six colorful Fair Trade bangles
  • Collectible River Stone ‘Heart for Haiti’
  • Fair Trade Reusable Tote Bag; plus…

The best part? YOU GET ALL THAT FOR JUST $35!!! (Usually a Global Exchange membership alone costs $35)

When your friends and family unwrap their Global Exchange Valentine Gift Membership, they will join a compassionate community of dedicated activists working for peace, justice and human rights.

You choose the recipient(s), and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll send out the membership card and gift package, plus keep your recipient in the loop about Global Exchange programs and events with our newsletter and e-mail action alerts.

Get Your Gift Membership in 2 Easy Steps: 

Step 1: Click here to get started
Step 2: Enter payment information and place your order by 3pm PST February 10th to guarantee arrival by Feb, 14.* It’s that simple! (*For shipments inside the United States. For international orders, please contact Corey Hill at or by calling 415-575-5537.)

Together We Can Bring Real and Lasting Change. Remember, your deadline to order if you want your gift to arrive by Valentine’s Day is 3pm PST this Friday!



Happy almost February everybody. Here’s your monthly dose of Fair Trade news and updates, assembled just for you hungry readers. Don’t forget to scroll to the end of this post for the “Fair Trade in the News” section!


Almost all major chocolate companies have begun to commit to using independent, third-party programs to certify that their cocoa suppliers comply with international labor standards, but Hershey continues to lag behind the industry.

Valentine’s Day is a major chocolate buying holiday, but gifts for your sweetheart should not come at the expense of worker rights. Forced labor, child labor and trafficking continue in the cocoa industry in West Africa.

Here’s how YOU can make a difference!

♥ Create your own personalized Valentine telling Hershey to use Fair Trade cocoa for its products, like the iconic chocolate Kiss. Address your valentine to Hershey Trust at 100 Crystal A Drive, Hershey, PA 17033. Please mail your Valentines to Hershey by February 17, 2012.

♥ You can also download a Valentine to color and send.

♥ If you make your own Valentine, please scan it and send the image to the Fair Trade Project at We’ll post some of the favorites online!


Graphic Credit:


From The CNN Freedom Project website:

In “Chocolate’s Child Slaves,” CNN’s David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields.

David McKenzie and Brent Swails of CNN revealed:

The Freedom Project wanted our team to answer one question: Ten years after all the major players in the chocolate industry promised to end trafficking and child labor in Ivory Coast, was that promise kept?

Sounds riveting, no? Air times and more info are online here.

Here’s a video clip from this project:


Graphic Credit: USFT


United Students for Fair Trade (USFT) has its 9th national convergence coming up. This year the theme is Fair Trade: Where Do We Go From Here? Here’s the where, when, what and why’s about it, from the USFT announcement:

Kick off your spring with more than just a spring-cleaning –join United Students for Fair Trade for our 9th National Convergence, coming up on March 2nd-4th at the University of Maryland at College Park. USFT is proud to open our annual convergence to both students and professionals to learn more about the exciting future of the fair trade movement. Register by February 1, and receive an official USFT Alta Gracia (union-made, living wage apparel) t-shirt. Registration is limited to the first 300 participants—and spots are filling quickly! Registration closes February 17th.

The theme “Where Do We Go From Here?” will cover all questions that have come up during this pivotal time in the fair trade movement with speakers representing the worker, NGO and company voices behind the movement.  There will be workshops and discussion sessions, along with the chance to browse a Fair Trade marketplace and stock up on fair trade goods. At this convergence, you will learn skills that will help you organize a movement on campus, inspire others, and empower fair trade producers all at the same time!

USFT National Convergence Links:
-Event on Facebook
-Event Registration
-Event flyer download

Questions? Contact Maria Louzon, National and Convergence Coordinator at (443)883-5226 or



From Fair Trade Resource Network announcement:
We invite you to learn about, and voice your perspectives on, this major issue on Webinar 120 on January 31 entitled “Should Unorganized Farmers Be Included in Fair Trade?

Just $5 to Register for Webinar 120
January 31, 1:00-1:50pm Eastern time

1.    Rodney North, Equal Exchange, The Answer Man – Information for the Public & Media
2.    Michael Sheridan, Catholic Relief Services, Director of the Borderlands Coffee Project (based in Ecuador)

FTRN’s Executive Director, Jeff Goldman

Level: Intermediate

Cost: Just $5 to Register for Webinar 120



The Hershey Company: Hershey Expands Responsible Cocoa Community Programs in West Africa

The Hershey Company today announced its plan to reinforce cocoa sustainability efforts by accelerating farmer and family development in West Africa, where 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is grown. Read more.

Huffington Post: Bring Fair Trade to Electronics

Reports about the inhumane or dangerous working conditions in Chinese factories that manufacture the innovative products for Apple, Inc. — most recently by the New York Times — have brought publicity Apple probably does not want. For this student of China’s high-tech industry, however, the revelations are not surprising. Read more. How Ethical are Those Valentine’s Day Treats?

Can you believe that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner? It feels like we just got done with holiday craziness! If you do the Valentine’s Day thing, you’re probably planning a date night or a gift, and there’s most likely a decadent dessert in the works. How can an ethical eater make sure that those Valentine’s Day indulgences aren’t at the expense of human rights? Read more.

NYGF (New York Gift Fair) 100 days of design: Designing Change: Fair Trade Principles Inspire Innovative Products by Madeline Kreider Carlson

How do mission-driven businesses integrate principles and design? For members of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF), a commitment to the nine Principles of Fair Trade not only provides the ethical foundation for their business practices, but inspires the design of products as well. Fair Trade Federation members are businesses based in the U.S. or Canada who engage in long-term trading relationships with artisans and farmers in developing countries. Their business models create sustainable, positive change by: Read more.

TIME/Techland: Will the World Ever See Fair Trade iPads?

Apple has taken the brunt of recent criticism, but don’t think that by boycotting the iPhone you’ll be doing workers in China any favors. Foxconn, the company under the most scrutiny for its labor practices, makes products for a huge swath of the consumer electronics industry including Nokia, Samsung and many others. Read more.

Responsible Cocoa: CLCCG (The Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating group) 2011 Annual Report Released

The annual report was prepared by the Offices of Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Eliot Engel, The United States Department of Labor, The Government of Cote d’Ivoire, The Ghana Ministry on Employment and Social Welfare, and the International Chocolate and Cocoa Industry. See highlights and view photos from the CLCCG annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C. in January 2012. Read more.

Join the Fair Trade Roundup Brigade!

  • Subscribe to our Fair Trade blog to receive new Fair Trade blog posts automatically.
  • News to share? If you’ve got big Fair Trade news to share, email me!
  • Enjoy this Fair Trade roundup? Then click the Share and Tweet buttons on the top right of this post to share with others. Thanks!

What started as a once-in-a while blog post is now a weekly series. There’s lots going on in the Fair Trade movement, so look to our weekly Round Ups for current updates. Each Round Up will feature two sections: Fair Trade Movement News and Global Exchange Fair Trade News.


Photo credit: Fast Company

Restaurant giant Bon Appetit announced a commitment to introduce Cordillera Fair Trade Certified chocolate in all of its kitchens. Fast Company’s Ariel Schwartz reports on this recent development:

Fair Trade Chocolate hit the big time this week as restaurant management giant Bon Appetit announced a commitment to introduce Cordillera Fair Trade Certified chocolate in all of its kitchens beginning on Valentine’s Day. This is a big deal–Bon Appetit provides cafe and catering services to corporations, colleges, and universities in 400 locations throughout 29 states. When the company makes a change in its food sourcing practices, it has a ripple effect. Read the entire article here.

Fair Trade Resource Network Webinars

Fair Trade Webinar 105 Community Discussion of TransFair’s Name Change to Fair Trade USA, and Pending Service Mark Application took place on 2/9/2011. Panelists included Fair Trade USA CEO Paul Rice, Equal Exchange’s Answer Man Rodney North and United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries Minister for Economic Justice, Edie Rassell. If you missed it, you can download the webinar for just $5 or wait until March 30th when it will become available for free on FTRN’s website.

Fair Trade Webinar 106 Minimum Fair Trade Content Standards for Multi-ingredient Products is coming up. Here are the details of this highly anticipated webinar:
Date: February 28
Time: 2:00-2:50pm EST
Investment: just $5!
Details: Minimum Fair Trade Content Standards for Multi-ingredient Products
Presenters: Dr. Bronner’s CEO, David Bronner; Ben & Jerry’s Director of Social Mission, Rob Michalak

World Fair Trade Day 2011 Poster Design

Take Part in World Fair Trade Day
To join in the World Fair Trade Day celebration, the Fair Trade Resource Network is inviting you to host a World Fair Trade Day event during May 1-15 and post your event to their website to help promote it.

Download the free World Fair Trade Day (WFTD) Activities Guide for tips, ideas, and resources, plus order WFTD promotional posters and postcards, and Fair Trade products – most free of charge – all on their website

ILO and Kuapa Kokoo partner to combat child labor in cocoa industry

The International Labour Organization (ILO)  has announced it will partner with Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union in a two-year project to assist the government of Ghana in reducing child labour. The pilot will run in 15 cocoa-growing communities affiliated with Kuapa Kokoo, the only Fairtrade certified cocoa cooperative in Ghana. The project focuses on preventing and removing children from hazardous work on cocoa farms. This includes livelihood support for vulnerable families and setting up a child labour monitoring system. Learn more here.


Coco-Zen Chocolate Truffles

Fair Trade Chocolate Tasting

Join us this Sunday, February 13th, for a Fair Trade chocolate tasting. San Francisco-based artisan chocolate company Coco-Zen will be providing organic, Fair Trade Certified chocolate to sample this Sunday afternoon. Bring the kids to make Valentines cards, or use our color-your-own Valentines to ask Hershey’s to go fair trade.

When: Sunday, February 13. 1pm-4pm.
Where: Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in Noe Valley (b/t Noe and Castro).
Price: FREE!

Global Exchange Fair Trade Internship
March 7th is the application deadline for summer internships at Global Exchange. So if you’re looking for a Fair Trade summer internship, visit the internship web page for more info and to apply to our Fair Trade department. Global Exchange’s internship program offers great work experience, as well as fun weekly training seminars with dozens of other interns throughout the organization.

Send a Valentine Message to Hershey’s
Make valentines (or print out and color in this pdf) asking the Hershey’s CEO to start sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa. Global Exchange will email you a coupon for 10% off your purchase at any Global Exchange store if you scan your valentine and email it to us to be posted online. Deadline to email all valentines is Friday, February 18.  Visit our website for more details.

WIN Fair Trade prizes by telling educators about Fair Trade curriculum

That’s right…you can win Fair Trade prizes just by telling educators about Global Exchange’s Fair Trade curriculum. This information helps teachers teach the issues of child labor in the cocoa industry. Educators can win prizes by teaching the curriculum, too. More info here.

Host a Dark Side of Chocolate Screening during National Week of Action.

I did, which you can read about here. We make it easy for you to show this compelling new documentary about the continued use of child labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry. Order a copy plus a screening toolkit for just $6.

Check back each week right here on our Fair Trade blog for more Fair Trade News Round-Ups…your one-stop shop for current Fair Trade news and events. And if you’ve got big Fair Trade news to share, email me!

As Valentine’s Day approaches, lot’s of people have chocolate on the brain. (Hopefully Fair Trade chocolate!) This year, to mark the occasion I decided to host a San Francisco screening of the film Dark Side of Chocolate, the documentary that goes undercover to reveal the bitter truth about child slavery in the cocoa industry.

Here’s why:
1. The Global Exchange Fair Trade campaign makes its easy to host this event (see below for just how easy.)
2. Many of my friends are unaware of what’s happening in the cocoa industry or what Fair Trade is all about. Hosting this screening seems like a great way to raise awareness with them and others who attend.
3. It doesn’t cost much (the film DVD and event toolkit cost just 6 bucks when you order online.)

Details for Dark Side of Chocolate Screening in San Francisco:

Flyer Design: Doran Shelley

When: Sunday, February 6th 2011 at 8:00 pm (Super Bowl fans welcome!) Event Begins: 8pm Film Starts: 8:30pm
Where: Doc’s Clock 2575 Mission Street (Bet 21st & 22nd) San Francisco, CA
Price: $5-$25 sliding scale; no one turned away for lack of funds (must be 21+ years old with proper ID)
Event Highlights:

  • Film Showing of Dark Side of Chocolate
  • Fair Trade chocolate tasting courtesy of Alter Eco
  • Make Your Own Valentines — supplies will be provided including color-your-own Valentines asking Hershey to go Fair Trade
  • Fair Trade Introduction by Global Exchange Fair Trade Campaign Director Adrienne Fitch Frankel
  • Stiff drinks courtesy of Amesia, bartender extraordinaire and Fair Trade advocate
  • Proceeds benefit the Global Exchange Fair Trade Campaign

To Host Your Own Film Screening:

Now is THE perfect time to host a screening of your own. The National Week of Action for Dark Side of Chocolate screenings runs from February 4-14, 2011. So if you’d like to host your own screening all the info you need is provided on the Global Exchange website. You’ll be able to order the dvd plus download the Dark Side Toolkit.

Hosting a Dark Side of Chocolate film screening is not only a great way to raise awareness and action, but it is also a great way to raise critical resources for the Global Exchange Fair Trade campaign and help put an end to child labor and trafficking on cocoa farms. And I can tell you from experience, once you decide to host a screening, people will come out of the woodwork to help!

Dark Side of Chocolate movie trailer: