Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has introduced fair trade-certified organic cocoa. This is the company's first non-coffee fair trade product introduction, and will, claims the firm, provide small-scale cocoa growers with a fair price for their crop.
The global cocoa industry is huge, and as Green Mountain points out, involves a huge number of people. Over 14 million farmers grew over 6 billion pounds of cocoa in the 2000/2001 crop year alone, and nearly two-thirds of cocoa products are consumed by Western Europe and North America.
The United States alone consumed 3.3 billion pounds of chocolate in 2000. Conventional cocoa growers rarely receive more than a tiny percentage of the price consumers pay for the finished product.
However the fair trade farmers in the Dominican Republic who grew the cocoa used in Green Mountain's cocoa, are among the world's 42,000 growers who belong to eight democratically organized fair trade cocoa cooperatives. These farmers, who generally own fewer than 12 acres of land, use the fair trade premiums they receive to support local social and economic initiatives targeted at improving the quality of life in their communities.
Green Mountain's fair trade cocoa is produced by Lake Champlain Chocolates in Vermont, USA.
The company contributes at least 5 per cent of its pre-tax profit annually to support socially responsible initiatives, many of which it has supported for over 10 years.
The new cocoa mix, entitled Better World Hot Cocoa, has been fair trade-certified by TransFair USA and has received organic certification from Quality Assurance International (QAI). The product is available from 13 October through the company's direct mail catalogue and website.