I'm wondering that what kind of machinery would you need for producing commercial raw chocolate products. I consult one company that brought this question up. I don't have any experiences making massive amounts of commercial chocolate, but what kind of set up would you recommend to order (price range 5000-10.000€). Any thought about subject?
The *senseless* change was, if you review the thread, because you called Organic and Fairtrade certification "crap"
In my post above I said, and I quote "Most of you can't read, write, or afford electricity to operate a computer that you can't afford...."
That statement is 100% true.
Shall I go to www.dictionary.com and explain to you the difference between the word "Most" and "All", or are you of the minority who can read well enough to understand the difference?
No need to answer. I was being facetious. I'm sure you can read and understand.
Personally I'm glad you're passionate about using ethically produced goods. I'm just saying that just because something has a label that it's NOT the be all and end all. There ARE businesses out there who disregard the label and conduct their affairs in an even more ethical fashion.
I personally don't believe in labels. Eventually someone will take advantage of the label for their own personal gain. I believe in ethics and conscience.
So the "illiterate farmers without electricity" have boot strapped themselves of of poverty, now have internet, email addresses, websites and burgeoning world trade and "fair trade" is "crap". Looks like a contradiction to me.
I'm afraid words without factual basis and review i.e. certification are just that words.
The point is - the farmers, left to themselves, could not have done this in most instances. In Peru, specifically, they did not bootstrap themselves out of poverty - it took massive amounts of international aid. At least $100 million. Over more than a decade.
Social certification came after the investment was made and the coops were formed. They benefited from (took advantage of) the massive investment; they did not make or facilitate the investments.
In the case of the TCGA (Toledo Cacao Grower's Association) in Belize — the first cocoa coop in the world to be both organic and Fair Trade certified — it took significant investment and long-term commitment on the part of Green and Blacks to achieve both certifications; the coop was moribund before G&B showed up. Now that Kraft is the owner of Cadbury who bought G&B, a large part of the social pact that G&B had with the TCGA is being removed - G&B's commitment to purchase all transitional cocoa. New owners Kraft are no longer honoring that guarantee which means that farmers who want to join in the TCGA must find an alternative market for their cocoa for the three year transition period. No small feat as there are few alternative buyers in the local market.
The issues are never as simple as they are portrayed. The ONLY way to know is to go. And see for yourself. You can't learn this stuff from a web site or in a day or even a week, and you have to visit - preferably with someone who has extensive experience in-country - several different origins in order to get a nuanced feeling for what is really going on.
And again, I have to refute your characterization that it is impossible to do good without having certifications. Ref Askinosie, Grenada, et al. What is required is transparency both down and up the supply chain. Transparency back down the supply chain is remarkably absent in all of social certification programs I have looked into.
I can easily discover that Fair Trade USA (the North American FLO licensee) plans to spend $500,000 (!) on rent on their Oakland, CA offices. Despite the promise of 100% traceability, it's impossible to learn how much was paid in social premium to cocoa farmers in Ecuador - and how much Fair Trade USA earned in licensing fees from the buyers of that cocoa.
Is that lack of transparency ethical?
I'd agree the Kraft purchase of Cadbury's has been a horrible setback for ethical cacao production and a betrayal of the Cadbury's founders. Good on little NZ for fighting back and stopping palm oil in their Cadbury's Milk Bars.
"I have to refute your characterization that it is impossible to do good without having certifications." Of course it's possible to do good without certification however certification means any ethical claims are certified and can appear so on packaging :-). Now we could have the Clay Gordon ethical certification authority, and many people here I'm sure would be happy with that, but would the shop keepers I sell to? would the customers of those shops? No! Fairtrade and Organic certification authorities for all their failings are trying their best and are internationally recognised. If their best is not good enough both you and I have the ability and right to inform them of that and they *do* listen and change.
Here are some non USAID funded regional initiatives:
Bris Kanda PNG http://www.bris-kanda.org/. Are currently working with around 1500 cocoa growers.
Vanuatu Organic Cocoa Growers Association VOCGA was established in 1989 and is an umbrella cooperative for ten primary processing cooperatives that supply organically-certified dry cocoa beans.
Alternative Communities Trade in Vanuatu (ACTIV) (www.activ.com.vu); TradeAid in New Zealand has given them a letter of intent to begin importing cocoa value-added products (cocoa butter, powder and chocolate) once they obtain the certification.
Strongly second Clay's points above. In addition, my experience in visiting coops in countries of origin (all in Latin America, in my case) is that there's substantial internal corruption within many of those organizations themselves.
Third-party certification programs vary in their intent and capabilities, but overall there are significant problems with traceability and transparency across the board...the logos and seals of approval simply don't deliver what consumers assume they deliver.
So your argument is that because there are problems that have yet to solved we abandon the concept? Throw the baby out with the bathwater? What do we replace it with? rampant exploitation, abuse, destruction and poverty?
Either you're as dense as your name implies, or all the bowling alleys are closed where you live and you have nothing better to do than hijack a thread in a chocolate forum.
WHAT EVERYONE INCLUDING EXPERIENCED GROWERS, CHOCOLATE MAKERS, AND RESEARCH EXPERTS ARE TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO YOU IS:
The fact that you blindly jump on the fair trade (or fairtrade) bandwagon and insist ONLY using these products for your confections does not necessarily mean that you are using ethically produced supplies. It has also been pointed out to you that not only are there flaws in the "fair trade" model which aren't beneficial to the growers, there are OTHER more ethical ways to conduct business in the cocoa industry which don't meet your almighty social certification standards.
What I find incredibly funny about the entire underlying premise of your argument is that you refuse to travel to the countries where your supplies come from, yet you won't take the word of people who have experience, have no affilliations with "Big Chocolate" or other institutions in the cocoa industry, and are sharing openly. Instead, you religiously follow a social certification standard which you clearly know next to nothing about, other than what you've gleaned from a few links on the Internet.
Thank GOD Xocai isn't fair trade! I'm sure you'd be all over that too, because it would have ALL the buzzwords (cold processed, acai berries, antioxidants, organic, fair trade, fairtrade)! Haha!
My suggestion to everyone is stop wasting your time! This Ice Blocks character is as thick as a Louisiana Swamp Donkey.
1. Fairtrade and Organic certification are more than just "social certification standards"
2. What are the "OTHER more ethical ways to conduct business"? How are they certified, what's the checks and balances that control them, who finances them and what are their motivations?
3. Of course there are flaws. Where your realistically expecting there not to be when your dealing with third world and developing countries? As pointed out are there are many ways that everyone can contribute to solving these. Can they do with with point 2?
4. My "underlying premise" which regretfully your continually unable to understand is that I don't need to get on an air-plane. I have independent certification of my ethical claims, these ethical claims I can legally put on my labels. Such labelling demonstrably improves sales to various retailers and through them to end customers.
5. Organic and Fairtrade certifications have improved the living conditions and environment of a number of cacao growers and continue to do so, excuses, obsucation and rudeness does not.
Hear ye, hear ye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!