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Feb 052011

From Green Right Now Reports

Human rights activists question the love.

Hershey’s Kisses don’t have such a huggable reputation this Valentine’s Day with  the campaign to get a commitment from Hershey on child labor still unresolved. The U.S. candy maker has not responded to calls from human rights activists for assurances that Hershey’s cocoa bean suppliers in West Africa are not exploiting child labor. (Read more about this issue.)

So let’s find some sweets and Valentine Day treats that are ethically and fairly produced. The best way to assure that you’re supporting the right labor practices is to buy Fair Trade products. Unfortunately, your Main Street grocery and nearby Big Box chain store may not offer much in the way of Fair Trade.

But don’t worry, you can find many Fair Trade goodies, including delectable chocolate and other sweetheart gifts at your local Fair Trade store. The Fair Trade Federation carries a listing of stores that sell Fair Trade chocolate and other goods. And if you don’t have a Fair Trade store near you, don’t panic, you may still be able to find individual products at many boutiques and green stores.

Or you can look online. The Global Exchange store features Fair Trade gift baskets packaged in eco-friendly ways. Here are some of our picks for Valentine’s:

Simple, but delicious Divine chocolate.

Divine Chocolate. This brand lives up to its name and it provides a fair wage to African cocoa farmers who supply and produce Divine. This chocolate comes in a variety of flavors — all good — and doesn’t cost much more than comparable premium bars with fuzzier labor backgrounds. If you can’t find Divine, or another Fair Trade chocolate, you can look for popular brand names that have made a commitment to sourcing their chocolate responsibly. See Green America’s Chocolate Scorecard for a ranking of how brands are doing on fair wage and labor issues.

California Organic Flowers, as fresh and chem-free as it gets.

Flowers. Practical greenies will want a plant that can be committed to the garden after its gifting.

A fresh new source for beautiful Organic flowers is California Organic Flowers, which are not just retailed, but grown right here in the U.S. These flowers can be send ASAP to anyone in the country, spreading nature’s beauty without worries that they depended upon pesticides and chemical preservatives. The beauty of these bouquets may just transfix your intended. Check out the Mixed Anemones Bouquet (above) set to open their blooms upon arrival.

But if you’ve got a traditional streak, look for roses from Organic Bouquet. Their Esperance Crown Roses (below) present beautiful cream and pink-tipped petals to the world. They’re longer lasting and verifiably kinder to the environment.

Sustainably grown Esperance Roses.

Sustainably grown Esperance Roses.