Posts Tagged With: Fairtrade

Egg-cellent ways to keep your Easter sustainable

With Easter approaching, the excitement for the copious amounts of chocolate and hot cross buns is becoming more apparent. Like any holiday, the selection of goodies that comes with it has the ability to not be sustainable.

Here are 5 tips to keep your Easter holiday sustainable:

1. Recycle your wrappers

All aluminium foil wrappers are recyclable and quite a wide variety of people don’t know about this! Make sure that when adding this to your recycling, you scrunch it up into a big collective ball. Small bits of foil don’t get taken by the recycling, make it worth it!

2. Fair Trade Chocolate

Buying Fair Trade and palm-oil free chocolate is not only delicious chocolate that tastes no different to anything else, you are making a world difference by improving the standards for farmers and their families in the countries in which chocolate is being produced. The lack of palm-oil also stops our forests from being cut down. This is so important!

3. Organic and local meal ingredients

A lot of people will join their families in a roast dinner on Easter Sunday, I know I will. When shopping for the ingredients for this meal, try your very best to buy local produce from your butchers and green grocers. It makes an incredible difference, and it’s much better for you as well.

4. Sustainable Easter baskets and painted eggs

One of the most fun times to be sustainable is with crafts. Painting eggs but using natural dyes is incredibly sustainable, as well as creating your baskets out of recycled materials, even your own Easter materials!

5. As little packaging as possible

A holiday means tonnes of wrapping paper, gift bags, plastic plates, the list goes on and on. Using recyclable materials for gifts is a solution, as well as keeping it plain and simple.

From all of us at Sustainability, we wish you a wonderful Easter.

Photo credit: Peter Biela 

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

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Chocolate Tasting Evening: Review (01/03/2017)

Over the course of your lifetime, on average you will have consumed 10,000 chocolate bars. I have probably long exceeded that amount, and I feel no shame about that. This evening marked the sequel to the last Divine Chocolate tasting that took place two years ago. The long distance relationship between myself and Divine chocolate had reached boiling point as I had not tasted her in so long. She was happy to see me again.

For those who do not know, Divine Chocolate is a Fairtrade company whose farmers have long since benefited from this process. They’ve invested in many ventures in their communities, some of which include adult literacy and numeracy classes for women for instance. If they didn’t receive the profits they did from their Fairtrade commission, who knows if we would still receive such quality chocolate.

choc tasting

The evening started in reverse order. First we got to taste some really “Divine” chocolate (see what I did there)? Then Divine Chocolatier Erik Houlihan-Jong led us on a chocolate historical odyssey that debuted in Mesoamerica, to its introduction to European audiences via Cortés. Erik’s larger than life persona made the history lesson worthwhile.

We were then given the low-down on how Divine chocolate gets made. The processes making me appreciate their elegant chocolate much more.

Next we indulged in a sensory tasting session. We were instructed to feel the texture of the chocolate. With Erik explaining why it felt the way we did. After that we attempted to listen to the chocolate. Like the last time I heard nothing, the chocolate bar was playing with my feelings. When we did the snap test then I knew that the listening test was a trick. We then got to the part you’ve probably been waiting to hear about. Drum roll please…….. The tasting. Erik had us push the chocolate through our mouths starting from our tongues. As the chocolate danced around my mouth, I was in a state of euphoric bliss. The chocolate and I were one. Had I ate the chocolate the way I usually did, I would not have appreciated the taste as much. It momentarily made me forget that Divine Chocolate do not sponsor me, but I got free chocolate and you didn’t which is all that matters.

Sadly the event ended. On the plus side, I bought some chocolate. I hope it will not be another two years until I’m reunited with my lover Divine chocolate.

We hope to welcome Erik and Divine Chocolate back to CCCU very shortly!

By Francis Olaku

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A chat with Erik from Divine Chocolate

As you may already know, on 1st March 2017, we are holding our second evening of Fairtrade chocolate tasting with Divine Chocolate – a London based organisation that creates an incredible selection of chocolate in a variety of flavours with fairtrade ingredients only.

I had a chat with Erik, master choclatier at Divine Chocolate ahead of his second visit to Canterbury about his career, ideas on sustainability and chocolate of course.

Most companies are beginning to adapt fairtrade guidelines, do you believe this has taken too long?

Getting the public to change shopping habits is a matter of educating people about the options available.  As well, showing the larger players that there is a market for Fairtrade is something Divine has been doing for many years.

What is the best thing about working for a company that prides itself upon fairtrade?

Working for Divine is a pleasure.  Not too long ago, I became a father and it made me rethink the concept of family.  Of course, many of the cocoa farmers have families themselves and they want the best for their children – ensuring that they can earn a good wage for their work, is incredibly important to me.

So true! How did you get into this field?

I have a background in education, teaching music and drama, but have always been interested in food and drink.  Divine were looking for people to share the Divine Chocolate story, so I produced a video of myself presenting a recipe in the kitchen, got the interview, and won over the panel!  That was three years ago, and now I speak at schools, run chocolate making workshops and give after dinner talks.

Besides from Divine Chocolate, what is your favourite brand of chocolate?

There are three main types of cocoa being grown, and one of them is called Criollo and is used in less than 3% of the worlds’ chocolate production.  If you can find it, it is certainly an interesting taste experience.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

Clearly eating lots of chocolate!

I should hope so! What can we expect from the chocolate tasting evening?

Participants can expect to learn how to use all five senses to better understand chocolate. We learn about the history of chocolate, chocolate production from bean to bar, and of course we hear about Fairtrade cocoa farming.

And lastly, what does sustainability mean to you?

For me, sustainability means that I’m ensuring future generations will be able to share my love of chocolate.


There you have it! Join us on 1st March 2017 at Barista and Baker for this fun-filled, informative evening!




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SGO: Fairtrade at CCCU

As we discussed in previous articles, choosing Fairtrade products means contributing to the welfare of the workers and to the development of their communities. This is why, our university works hard to provide us with Fairtrade products and to encourage us to be fair. To support this initiative, the university organised the Fairtrade Fortnight when students and staff were rewarded for buying Fairtrade products. For example, those who bought a Fairtrade item from the CCCU bookstore received a voucher for a free drink in the Touchdown Café.  Moreover, there were given raffle tickets for every Fairtrade item bought from the Touchdown and there were of course prizes for the winners.

It may seem an easy job to get Fairtrade products for the Touchdowns and Food Court since you can see Fairtrade products in a lot of Canterbury supermarkets but it is not easy to find Fairtrade products in the quantities needed for the university.  Also it is not easy to sell them either because Fairtrade products are slightly more expensive and a higher retail price results in having less students buying them. The key however, is balance and the Touchdown is trying to offer quite a various range of Fairtrade products for the best price they can. Some of the Fairtrade items you can choose from are: Fairtrade cupcakes, bananas, mangoes but the drinks are Fairtrade too so give them a go!

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Fanatic about Fairtrade: SGO’s Fairtrade Taste-Off

In the photo above: Megan with three of our amazing volunteers, Francis, Natalie and Elzy-Mae, without whom the SGO would not be what it is today!

Has it really been 2 months since our Taste-Off? How time flies! To promote Fairtrade Fortnight, the SGO ran a Fairtrade Taste-Off in Touchdown Café, giving you lovely students a chance to taste a variety of Fairtrade chocolate and vote for your favourite! Here is a review from the SGO’s wonderful Francis Olaku, who volunteered at the event. This is what he thought about it:

Monday 29th February was our free Fairtrade Chocolate Taste-Off. Fairtrade chocolate differs from regular chocolate because the farmers get paid a fair amount for the beans that they cultivate, that are in turn made into chocolate. They also receive many benefits from Fairtrade, an enhanced quality of life and further community benefits. We ran a stand for students in Touchdown Café to introduce them to the importance and benefits of Fairtrade. There were three types of chocolate to sample, ‘Divine’ Milk Chocolate, ‘Meaningful Chocolate’ Orange & Milk Chocolate, and ‘Divine’ Dark Chocolate with Almond and Raisins. For someone that usually loathes Dark Chocolate, I was surprised at how delicious this tasted. It was not as bitter as the other unpleasant Dark Chocolate I have tried. 

Surprisingly, the vast majority of students thought that there might be a catch involved- that we might charge them for the chocolate. When we explained that there was no catch, many came out of their shells and happily received the chocolate- with some taking a hearty amount, I might add! It was a delightful sight, as we all know how important chocolate is- one of your five a day, I heard.*

We also provided recipes that students could take away if they wanted. All in all, I thought that it was a successful event. Many who did not know about Fairtrade chocolate were able to find out more about it, and I believe that we’ve planted a seed in them. So next time, we hope they might choose the Fairtrade chocolate over the regular non-Fairtrade brand. 

*This may be a slight lie, even if there is orange flavouring in the chocolate. 

Written by student blogger and volunteer,
Francis Olaku


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SGO: Eating out sustainably in Canterbury

When you are going to spend some money to eat out, it is good to know if the price you pay contributes to the economy of your local community or if it contributes to the fight for giving a fair wage to those of foreign communities. This is why we went out to talk to some local businesses and came up with this list of just some of the places from Canterbury which sell meals made from locally grown ingredients or from organic and Fairtrade products.

Food CC Tom VanAllen Continue reading

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SGO: The Only Way is Cake

Food, glorious food! Everybody has got a guilty pleasure for some kind of tasty treat, in my case it’s the unbelievable amounts of takeaway I get with the excuse that I’m a student to justify it – but let’s not get into that.

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SGO: Fairtrade chocolate ‘Taste-Off’ event!

While Fairtrade products offer a wide range of benefits, one of the greatest things about choosing Fairtrade chocolate is ensuring a fair wage to the cocoa farmers and their employees, as well as giving them the chance to develop in a sustainable way.

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SGO: Sustainable Interior Buying Made Easy

Want to start buying more sustainably but don’t know where to start? We’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve found a tonne of sustainable interior websites, selling items just as awesome as – if not more than – those available on the high street. So next time you decide to splash out on something new for your bedroom, perhaps spending birthday or Christmas money, or as a treat on payday, you can feel good knowing the items you have bought are fairly made and organic- at an even better quality than the average high street brand!

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SGO: Green is the new pink; Valentine’s Day

Whether it’s for your partner, your best friend, your sister or your parent, say ‘I love you’ with a green twist. Check out our Earth-friendly alternatives to your typical Valentine’s Day gifts!

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