Easter is fast approaching. There is currently a huge public appetite to consume in a more compassionate way and Easter is no eggception (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
Today’s supermarket shelves are littered with brands boasting their ethical credentials. A recent report by the co-op showed that while UK household expenditure has remained largely flat, ethical spending has risen fourfold over the past 20 years.(1) This is an amazing achievement that reflects consumer pressure for companies to be more socially responsible. Unfortunately, not all ethical eggs are equal. With companies keen to capitalise on the public’s desire to buy better, choosing genuine ethical alternatives can be hard.
The emphasis is on the consumer to do their research rather than the companies to be honest and transparent.
Considerations when looking for an Ethical Easter Egg:
There are so many considerations it can feel like a minefield! We are here to help. We have compiled a handy list of all the elements for a truly ethical Easter egg and challenged ourselves to source one that has them all. At the Ethical Giftbox, we pride ourselves on offering genuine alternatives that allow our customers to continue to make sound ethical choices. So let’s crack on! (Okay, we’ll stop now !)
1. Fairtrade Chocolate:
When Fairtrade started in 1992 it was the only scheme of its kind to offer better prices and decent working conditions for farmers and workers in the developing world. “Now there are something like 400 sustainability labels out there”.(2)
This creates a conflict for Fairtrade; as some of the world’s largest brands seek to increase the amount of sustainably sourced agricultural commodities. Should Fairtrade return to its core values and risk being a niche movement or seek to sit in the mainstream?
This has played out in controversial partnerships with brands like Nestle and Cadbury. Despite these tensions, Fairtrade is seen to have the highest standards and the highest level of recognition.(3) Fairtrade sales increased 13.7% between October 2019 and October 2020*.(4) And as we have written about previously, there are numerous benefits to buying Fairtrade.
2. Slave free:
Modern slavery-defined as forced Labour of children* and adults is a huge issue in the production chain of chocolate. The average cocoa farmer in West Africa earns just 70c a day. Without the means to hire workers, farmers often resort to recruiting minors. In worst case senarios 30,000 children are sold and trafficked as slaves according to the global slavery index.(5)
Many of the high street’s most popular chocolate brands such as Nestlé, Mars, and Mondelēz who own Cadbury, Toblerone, Cote d'Or, belVita and Oreo, are currently embroiled in a lawsuit, accused of ‘aiding and abetting the illegal enslavement of “thousands'' of children on cocoa farms in their supply chains’.(6)
Most mainstream Easter eggs come in russian doll-esque packaging. Layered by cardboard, plastic then foil. Consumers don’t want so much packaging! A recent YouGov poll revealed that 46% of UK consumers felt guilty about excessive packaging. Eight in ten consumers reported trying to reduce their plastic waste and half said they would be willing to pay higher prices for eco-friendly packaging, (7) showing there is huge appetite for less packaging, and packaging that is recycled and biodegradable.
4. Palm oil free
Palm oil continues to be a huge problem, it is a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino.(8) Many high street chocolate brands boast sustainable palm oil but use an industry led certification called Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Greenpeace have described this certification as ‘a con’ and ‘as much use as a chocolate teapot’. (9)
Not only is veganism best for animal welfare and the planet,(10) some of the best luxury brands happen to be producing vegan Easter eggs by design as dark usually means less processed so is the preferred choice of serious chocolatiers.(11)
All this in one egg?
With so many things to consider, it’s quite a task finding an Easter Egg that ticks all these boxes. Well fear not, we challenged ourselves to source you an Easter Egg that has it all (almost).
Our Ethical Easter Egg winner is LoveCocoa’s Sea Salt and Dark chocolate Egg.
This beauty is slave free, free from Palm Oil, free from Plastic Packaging with a compostable inner film, Vegan and although it doesn’t have the Fairtrade certification, for every chocolate sold, a tree is planted in cacao plantations in Cameroon. This not only gives cocoa farmers much needed additional income, but it is also good for the planet with many Rainforests in Africa being destroyed for the cultivation of cacao.
Have a wonderfully sweet and chocolatey Easter dear readers. If you have your own ethical egg winner we’d love to hear about it.
- Guardian- UK ethical consumer spending hits record high, report shows
- Reuters-Has Fairtrade passed its sell by date?
- Co-op- Ethical consumption in the pandemic report
- Confectionery News - How Tony’s Chocolonely plans to disrupt the big seven in chocolate
- Guardian-Mars, Nestle and Hershey to face child slavery Lawsuit in US
- Guardian- Half of UK consumers willing to pay more to avoid plastic packaging
- WWF- 8 things to know about palm oil
- Greenpeace- 5 problems with sustainable palm-oil
- Plant Based News - Vegan diet best for planet data shows why
- GQ magazine- Best vegan Easter egg
*Fairtrade sales increased 13.7% between October 2019 and October 2020 (ahead of total grocery, increased by 9.4%1 )
*Forced Labour of children (this definition excludes family)