Avoid supporting child labour for ♥Valentine’s Day♥
The day of love, adored by so many and so full of commercial connotations also comes with some ethical landlines that conscious consumers will want to avoid – especially child labour.
Chocolate: Last fall in the US, lawsuits were filed against three of the largest mainstream chocolate companies – Mars, Hershey and Nestle for their use of child slave labor. According to Courthouse News Service,
all three lawsuits…claim the candy giants “turn a blind eye” to human rights abuses by cocoa suppliers in West Africa while falsely portraying themselves as socially and ethically responsible.
GreenAmerica suggests that “more than 2 million children in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa” This means ethical chocoholics need to seek well marked Fairtrade brands. Green America has a great list here.
Flowers: Over 250 million roses are grown specifically for this special day – most using harmful pesticides and child laborers. Choosing organic flowers supports both farms and farm worker health. If flowers are on your beloved’s wish list here are three ideas to keep them ethical:
- Seek out organic or fairtrade sellers (In the US try California Organic Flowers)
- Buy in season and local – check out your local farmer’s market or ask your florist for locally sourced options
- Consider a plant – not only will this last beyond the day but plants offset indoor air pollution
Jewelry: NGO reports on this industry are enough to make anyone shudder. Amnesty International warns that many companies are hiding behind the Kimberely Process (considered a failed attempt to stem ‘blood diamonds’) and that the global diamond market is flooded with ‘blood diamonds’ mined by children as young as eleven. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch claims thousands of children as young as nine are being forced to work in horrifying underground and underwater mines at depths of up to 25m in the Philippines – just one of many countries where child labour in mining has been reported. Want to find jewelry that avoids supporting this? Try the Ethical Metalsmiths directory for members who commit to social and environmental responsibility, seek jewelers who offer fairtrade or recycled gold or silver (Cred Jewellery in the UK), or seek local or artisan pieces with a story (Natalie Frigo, ShopSoko, Golconda).
Handmade: Why not celebrate with something thoughtfully handmade: a card, breakfast in bed, a picnic. Need inspiration, BuzzFeed has a great list.
There are heaps of options to celebrate your love this Valentines Day without supporting brands or practices that don’t mesh with your ethics. ♥♥