Friday, 22 March 2013

Review: Galaxy Easter Egg & the Rainforest Alliance

We have just been sent the most delicious Easter egg!  I adore Galaxy chocolates, with its soft melting texture and creamy flavour, so an entire big Galaxy egg PLUS several accompanying bars is bliss!!

The egg itself is a considerable size and will keep me going for several evenings with a nice cup of tea!  It is accompanied by two bars of Galaxy Caramel, a standard Galaxy bar, a Ripple bar and a packet of Minstrels.  YUM x 5!!!  The egg also, such a joy, comes with zero plastic packaging, just cardboard, so is easily recyclable.  10 out of 10 for that!

Even better, Galaxy comes with the special Rainforest Alliance little green frog seal of approval.  The Rainforest Alliance are an international conservation organisation, best known in the UK for their little green frog seal of approval that can be found on products such as Costa Coffee, Kenco Coffee, PG Tips tea and Galaxy chocolate, amongst others.  Brands that carry the green frog seal have used ingredients (such as tea, coffee and cocoa) that have been sustainably sourced from farms which meet strict standards of environmental and social practices according to the Rainforest Alliance, such as ecosystem conservation, water and soil conservation, workers rights and safety, and decent housing and access to education.

Back in 2010, Mars announced that it would source 100 percent of its cocoa for Galaxy bars from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. The global chocolate company was also the first to commit to certifying its entire cocoa supply by 2020, making a real difference to farmers and the environment.

The Galaxy commitment to sustainability has gone one step further, as this Easter for the first time, Galaxy Easter Eggs now include a Galaxy bar of chocolate carrying the Rainforest Alliance little green frog seal, which means the cocoa used has come from sustainable sources.  With more and more consumers - particularly mums - wanting to know where and how our food is produced, this is a great opportunity to indulge in a delicious treat like Galaxy whilst knowing it is also good for the environment and the farmers who produce it.

Rainforest Alliance

All farms that are Rainforest Alliance Certified™ have met the environmental, social and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). The SAN standards cover ecosystem conservation, worker rights and safety, wildlife protection, water and soil conservation, agrochemical reduction, decent housing, and legal wages and contracts for workers. Cocoa farmers are nearly all smallholders who need healthy soil and fresh water for their farms to remain productive and profitable.

Rainforest Alliance certification shows that by adopting environmentally and socially sustainable farming practices that help local ecosystems and communities thrive together we can create a sustainable future.

Over 98,000 metric tons of Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa were produced in 2011 (we’re currently working on 2012 figures), a 75 percent increase over 2010, representing approximately 2.7 percent of global production.

One country where they are working is Cote d’Ivoire where the uptake of Rainforest Alliance certification has grown phenomenally since major companies such as, Mars, Unilever, Mondeleez (Kraft’s new name for its confectionery business), Hershey, and the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut all committed to sourcing their cocoa from certified farms. Sixty thousand Ivorian farms covering over 500,000 hectares have become Rainforest Alliance Certified in just six years.

An independent study by the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) on the impact of Rainforest Alliance certification on cocoa farming in Cote d’Ivoire found that after adopting sustainable techniques and becoming certified, farms increased their yields by 58 per cent, and their net income was almost four times higher than that of non-certified farms. The study also found that certification brings environmental benefits like soil and water conservation and social benefits like higher educational attainment. For example, on certified farms, where teenagers are allowed to help out on family farms (under carefully defined rules), over 50 per cent had achieved their age-appropriate level in school – and there’s a current focus on reaching 100 per cent – compared to only 13 per cent on non-certified farms.

When consumers see the little green frog seal that represents the Rainforest Alliance certification programme, they can be assured that the coffee, tea or chocolate they are eating or drinking has been grown on a farm that is benefiting the environment, the farmer and their families now and in the future.

With an ever-increasing demand to know where and how our food is sourced, combined with the fact that the earth’s resources are rapidly depleting, the ethical option is becoming more and more important not only for shoppers, but also for the future of the environment and the livelihoods of farmers and their families around the world.

Certification is an excellent tool to make the Earth’s resources more sustainable, as globally we’re facing rising food demand as the population heads towards nine billion by the middle of the century. To meet this demand, the global food system must raise yields on existing farmland sustainably, without clearing more forests, degrading more grazing land, or exacerbating climate change and biodiversity loss.

This is where certification schemes such as the Rainforest Alliance can make a drastic difference and change industries, allowing businesses to prosper at the same time as the environment is protected and the rights of workers and their families are ensured.

And if we can still enjoy the best, tastiest chocolate, tea and coffee, then why not ensure it is green frog approved too?  That way we the consumers, the producers, the workers, and the environment all win.  What's not to like?

You can read more about The Rainforest Alliance, and their other UK partners, on their website; or follow the Frog Blog for regular updates.

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