Last year I celebrated Valentine’s Day by asking you to boycott Hershey’s, which is working towards 100% third-party certified production in Africa—a step that would eliminate once and for all accusations of child labor, forced labor, child trafficking and verbal, physical and sexual harassment that have plagued America’s biggest chocolate manufacturer for years. This year, I’m going one step further: Will you join me in putting your love money to work with fair trade Valentine’s Day gifts?
The Hershey’s boycott really started with a discussion of fair trade. Because the chocolate industry is so dirty—the U.S. State Department has estimated that more than 100,000 children work on the African farms where most cocoa is cultivated, and that 10,000 of those are victims of human trafficking and enslavement—choosing fair trade for holidays like Valentine’s Day is doubly important.
Fair trade manufacturers forge economic partnerships that can alleviate poverty, reduce inequality, and create opportunities for farmers and artists—especially women, who produce 76% of fair trade goods. These businesses combat human trafficking by creating opportunities for parents, so that they don’t resort to selling their children’s labor.
Pretty sweet, right? And fair trade isn’t just limited to chocolate, either. Here are a few of my fair trade Valentine’s Day favorites.
Put your love money to work with Fair Trade Valentine’s Day gifts that can alleviate poverty and create opportunities for farmers and artists. Sweet, right? Equal Exchange red foil wrapped dark chocolate hearts are vegan, fair trade, non-GMO, kosher and USDA Certified Organic—perfect for sharing at the office. ($20 for 24)
I’m obsessed with this light-as-air Fair Trade Republica red alpaca scarf, created by a women’s cooperative in Bolivia. ($40)
Is your love hirsute? Get him grooming with fragrance-free Naked Beard Balm, made in Detroit from fair trade, organic coconut oil. ($12)
Zhena’s Gypsy Tea is always fair trade, organic and GMO-free. Their adorable stacked sampler tin is perfect for gifting. ($7)
Made in a family-owned factory in Tunisia, bright red Le Souk Ceramique mugs would make any morning brighter. ($60 for four)
Done with chocolate? These dark chocolate sea salt caramels are to die for. Made in Lake Champlain, Vermont, they’re certified Fair for Life. ($35 for 15)
Crafted from recycled office paper that’s been hand pulped, dried and cut in Rwanda, these classic Valentine’s Cards send a conscious message. ($18 for six)
Add a little spice to a sweet gift with Theo Chocolate’s always fair trade and organic Chili Dark Chocolate Bar. ($4)
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! This year, my best gift would be just a few moments alone with my husband—no kids! What gifts are you giving—and what do you hope to receive? Please share in comments, below. Thanks!