We know that for many vegans, considering other planetary and human impacts of our consumer choices are just as important as the impact on non-human animals. Every year, the end of February and beginning of March (22 February – 7 March this year) mark Fairtrade Fortnight where organisations, companies and individuals learn about and celebrate the people who grow our food and everyday products.
The Vegan Society registers many products with the Vegan Trademark by brands who also take steps to ensure they are free from both human and non-human animal exploitation. This involves making sure they know exactly where their raw materials are coming from, who is growing them and if growers are being treated fairly.
What’s the difference between ‘fair trade’ and ‘Fairtrade’?
It’s important to remember Fairtrade (one word) is an international standards and certification system. Producers and buyers agree to uphold certain minimum standards and payments in return for their product to be labelled with the Fairtrade Foundation’s Fairtrade mark. ‘Fair trade’ (two words) means something has been fairly traded at the initiative of the brand or company. Sometimes this can go above and beyond the minimum standards which Fairtrade sets, but does not carry the Fairtrade mark.
Keep reading for a spotlight on three of our Vegan Trademark holders who register vegan products with us that are also fairly traded*.
Traidcraft – the pioneers
Fighting for the future of people and the planet since 1979, Traidcraft consider themselves the original pioneers of fair trade. Over the past 40 years, Traidcraft has introduced some of the first fair trade products including chocolate, coffee, rice and their sustainable palm oil, FairPalm (used in their Vegan Trademark registered cookies).
Traidcraft have several vegan products that are Fairtrade certified such as their raw cane, demerara and golden caster sugars. Others, like their recycled toilet roll, are not Fairtrade certified (therefore don’t carry the mark), but still uphold Traidcraft’s fair trade values.
Traidcraft believe in a holistic approach to food and deliberately only buy from smallholders (farmers who own their own land) instead of plantations (often owned by mega-corporations), focus on organic where possible and quality produce. This philosophy extends to how they treat their own staff; the rights of non-discrimination, self-organisation, opportunities to train and for the pay gap between top and bottom to be no more than a factor of 2.6. This is all embedded in what fair trade always set out to achieve.
Traidcraft’s Vegan Trademark certified and fair trade products:
As well as Traidcraft’s Raw Cane, Demerara and Golden Caster sugars and their Recycled Toilet Roll, check out their Stem Ginger and Double Chocolate Chunk cookies, Organic Strawberry Jam and Ginger Christmas Tree Biscuits at www.traidcraftshop.co.uk.
Learn more about Traidcraft’s fair trade journey here.
Divine Chocolate – ‘heavenly chocolate with a heart’
Divine Chocolate make quality chocolate that they believe is fairer to farmers and the environment. Championing cocoa farmers for over 20 years, they are driven by a social mission to empower producers and consumers. Divine is the only Fairtrade certified chocolate company co-owned by farmers.
Divine started with a group of cocoa farmers in Ghana who voted to set up their own chocolate company and launched the first farmer-owned fair trade chocolate product aimed at the mass market in the UK. To ensure more benefits for cocoa farmers, a co-operative called the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union was established on Fairtrade principles. A first in the Fairtrade world, Kuapa Kokoo is a shareholder of Divine. So, not only do Kuapa Kokoo farmers receive the Fairtrade premium, but they also get a share of the profits they help create, directly improving theirs and their families’ lives.
Both led by women, Divine Chocolate and Kuapa Kokoo have a shared commitment to empowering women. Together, they support women in cocoa farming to develop the skills and confidence to grow better cocoa, build better communities, and thrive in business. Of the 100,000 Kuapa Kokoo farmers who co-own the company, more than a third are women.
Divine Chocolate is also the highest scoring B Corp food business in the UK, which means they ‘meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose’. Divine does everything in its power to ensure its products have a positive impact on the environment, farmers, communities and employees.
Divine’s Vegan Trademark and Fairtrade certified products:
All of Divine’s dark chocolates are Vegan Trademark certified – including their dark chocolate easter egg and mini eggs!
Browse their range and learn more about Divine Chocolate’s history at www.divinechocolate.com.
Akoma Skincare – from the heart
Akoma is a British-Ghanaian owned skincare brand with a fair, sustainable and fully integrated supply chain at its heart. To take complete ownership of their products, Akoma works closely with small Ghanaian farmers, right through to production and manufacturing until the product gets to you, the customer. This gives Akoma full traceability and accountability over their products.
Founded by Angus Klufio who lived in Ghana for eight years and whose father was a farmer, this holistic approach truly is ‘from the heart’ for Angus. With his farming and Ghanaian heritage, it’s important to Angus to get to know the ingredients Akoma use and he focuses heavily on supporting small farmers when sourcing ingredients and paying fair prices. In turn, the farmers can access the international market which would otherwise be costly for them.
Akoma sources and distributes the highest quality, pure and natural ingredients (most of which are also Vegan Trademark certified) from Ghana to customers worldwide. They are committed to fair prices, good working conditions, sustainability and fair terms of trade. This benefits everybody – from their cooperative workers to the customers buying their products.
The Akoma Cooperative Multipurpose Society was set up by Akoma in Bolgatanga, a poverty-stricken area in Ghana with high unemployment and few opportunities. The cooperative helps this community (vulnerable women, children, and the elderly in particular) improve their health, education, and job prospects through several projects and by keeping traditional production methods and the community's knowledge alive.
Akoma’s Vegan Trademark certified and fair trade products:
Akoma not only have a range of vegan and fair trade skincare and body care products including their Black Soap collection, body butters and face masks, they also sell raw materials. These are available to both large cosmetic brands and individuals wanting to make their own body care and skincare products. Look out for the Vegan Trademark on any products suitable for vegans.
By Vegan Society Brand Marketing Officer, Nishat Rahman.
*The Vegan Society does not endorse brands that register with the Vegan Trademark. The views in this blog are factual statements about Trademark holders who also consider themselves fair trade or are certified with Fairtrade (or other certifications), to help raise awareness of Fairtrade Fortnight. We encourage consumers to make their own purchasing decisions.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.