Let’s play a game!

Fact or Fiction.

Is Fair Trade actually fair?

Take a guess.

Many chocolate companies market themselves as “Fair Trade”. And so, consumers think they are supporting a good cause.

The fact of the matter is that Fair Trade is far from fair. 

In fact, in chocolate, Fair Trade is still an exploitation of farmers and it’s no more than a feel-good label for consumers.

Since we work with farmers directly, we have this insight into Fair Trade. And that’s why we don’t advocate Fair Trade, and instead, use our Direct & Ethical Trade model.

Although there is no “official” certification for it, the positive impact of Direct & Ethical trade far outweighs that of Fair Trade. 

Let’s find out why below.

Direct & Ethical Trade Benefits

Our Ethical/Direct Trade sourcing model is far better than fair.

Here are some of the outcomes that prove it:

  • Firefly pays cacao prices that are actually sustainable for farmers, at minimum double the Fair Trade premium and often more than that.
  • Direct & Ethical Trade pricing helps farmers and communities break cycles of poverty. (Fair Trade prices only lock farmers into an unsustainable system.)
  • Direct & Ethical Trade pricing actually pays farmers what they need to cultivate high-quality cacao, thus improving the quality of cacao being farmed around the world. We all know that a minimum wage begets only poor quality work, and we want better for cacao.
  • Higher quality cacao beans result in a higher quality end-product for consumers: including ceremonial cacao. That means more health, energy, enjoyment, flavor, spiritual connection, and much more.
  • Firefly has direct and personal relationships with farmers and partners around the world. 

Does Your Cacao Have Rocks In It?

Here is an additional perspective on so-called “Fair Trade cacao.” 

The majority of global commodity cacao is grown on the west coast of Africa. 

When visiting Tanzania, we learned that the "West African Farm Gate" cacao price—the commodity benchmark price—allows for cacao bags that can contain 10% rocks. 

To translate: industrial chocolate companies are buying bags of cacao that are filled with up to 10% rocks. They sort these out later on large machines, but can you imagine? Food & medicine that you love, being mixed with rocks? Do you want to eat that?

It is a common practice to bulk up cacao shipments with rocks, straw, and scraps. 

The Fair Trade premium is 10% above the West African Farm Gate price.

If you don't know better, you think 10% sounds good. However, in reality, that premium only ensures that you don’t have rocks in your cacao. And it doesn’t help farmers truly create a beautiful life for themselves. So, is the Fair Trade premium really much better than the commodity price? 

Now, let’s compare that to Firefly’s Direct & Ethical Trade model. The clean cacao that we buy from our partners around the world may not have an “official” certification such as Fair Trade, but our Direct & Ethical Trade model has an impact so far beyond the price. 

In addition to the benefits outlined above, there are many qualitative impacts that cannot be evaluated by price alone or simply checking a box. 

Direct & Ethical Trade is also about re-humanizing the supply chain, respecting the cacao and the world by putting love and care into it, not just a little extra cash over a commodity baseline that is exploitatively low. 

Our entire supply chain of cacao farmers, post-harvest processors, transporters, chocolate makers, and consumers shares a common core principle: making a positive impact and contribution to the world.

Thank you, for supporting this vision and being an important part of it.

Do you have any questions on rituals? Or would you like to share your rituals with us?

We'd love to hear from you and feature your cacao practice in future newsletters! Text us at +1 (844) 695-0043, reply to this email, reach out on social media, or click on the bottom-right-hand corner of our website for help.

With Love, Gratitude, & Cacao,

Jonas & The Firefly Family

P.S. - ❄️ We are now on a summer shipping schedule. All cacao is sent out with ice packs and recycled + recyclable insulation!

📅 Orders ship Monday through Wednesday.

🕰️ Wednesday @ 1pm PST is the last order time to make the above shipping window, so that we can reduce the likelihood of your cacao being delayed in a hot warehouse over the weekend!

🧠 Please be mindful if you are ordering during a heatwave.

🏡 Bring your package inside as soon as you can after it is delivered!

📲 We recommend opting in for text message delivery notifications; to do this, enter your phone number at checkout and you will receive updates on your cacao!

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