It is wonderful to be at a chocolate fair but already after the first 10 samples one just have to take a break, drink some water, before one can take the next round. Because if you are a choclaholic you cannot stop even if you already have had too much IF there is chocolate available. When you finally walk away your stomach (and coincidence, maybe even your morale) tells you NEVER to eat chocolate again, but already in the evening you look for the chocolate you bought at the fair – in my case 2 shopping bags with fair trade chocolate.
I want to connect back to my earlier piece about fair coffee last week. While at the chocolate festival in Stockholm during the weekend I spoke to three importers of fair chocolate. North& South was one of them. They all talked about their chocolate as being fair (rättvis) but that the chocolate they sold did not have the “Fair Trade” certificate. They alla agreed that it is too expensive to get the certificate both for the cooperatives in the countries where the chocolate is grown (as for coffee coops in the coffee growing countries) and for the importers and distributers here. Fair trade certification offices are crowded with employees who get a good salary to give small farmers and importers certificates. But who needs these middlemen? Is it fair that they take such a large part of the price? No, and they are unnecessary middlemen according to the importers I talked to at the fair who all personally know the farmers coops they import from – small is beautiful! They therefore also know how they harvest and refine the cocoa. If the coop is owned by the farmers themselves there are no middle hands at that end and we as costumers also get a fair price and avoid that a large part of the price of chocolate is taken by a certification business in central Europe. But is it maybe anyway better to buy Fair Trade certificated chocolate and coffee than brands where there is no consideration about the trade ethics? As another blogger writing about this subject put it: human altruism is a complex beast!