fair trade

Sailing the chocolate seas

Sailing the chocolate seas

Ever think about giving up chocolate for the good of the planet? Nah, me neither – some sacrifices are too great! Despite having such a captive market, though, chocolate makers from the corporate giants to small-scale artisan operations have looked for ways to reduce their environmental and social impact. Organic cocoa beans and Fair Trade farming operations have become standard on this front, but two chocolatiers, one American, one British, have gone to an extreme to cut their footprints: they’re having either supplies or product delivered by sailing ships.

Organic coffee… for metalheads?

Organic coffee… for metalheads?

When I first saw that Rob Zombie was selling certified organic and Fair Trade coffee through his online store, I thought “That’s unique…” Turns out I was wrong… Zombie’s joining metal artists ranging from Steelheart to Dave Mustaine of Megadeth to Charlie Benante of Anthrax in lending his name and image to coffee. In all of these cases, the brands in question tout their dedication to the environment and social/economic justice.

OK, your average metal musician probably appreciates a good cup of java after a night of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, but organic and Fair Trade? Is that necessary for this demographic? Or is this just some kind of marketing ploy aimed at attracting a wider audience?

School fundraising goes green

School fundraising goes green

Though the kids are probably home for the summer at this point, the PTA, band boosters, or other school organization may already be discussing fundraising plans for the coming year. More efforts to get the kids knocking on doors to sell wrapping paper and nasty pizza kits, right?

Fortunately, a number of eco-entrepreneurs have gotten into the fundraising game, and created opportunities for either selling greener products, or leveraging activities like recycling to raise money for school activities and organizations. A few of the companies involved in this niche after the jump.

Student film documents Haitian sustainability projects

Student film documents Haitian sustainability projects

Hope can be a precious commodity in developing countries like Haiti. With 80% of the population living below the poverty level, residents will likely welcome any economic opportunity, regardless of social or environmental consequences. The documentary film BLOOMING HOPE: HARVESTING SMILES IN PORT-DE-PAIX documents efforts by a few Haitian citizens, community leaders, and aid workers to build financially, socially and environmentally sustainable business models in one of the country’s poorest region.

Studio visit: Osborn Design

Studio visit: Osborn Design

Down the street from my apartment is a small studio where a husband and wife are quietly doing very big things. Like any trained fine artists they draw and paint. Carla makes delicate and complex collage prints (she was recently commissioned by Anthropologie to do a toile wallpaper and it’s amazing) and Aaron frequently visits his old stomping ground in Guatemala City to oversee the production of their shoe line.

Read more about Carla and Aaron Osborn and their shoe line…