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Ivorian Cocoa Farmer Appeals To London Chocolate Forum For More Involvement



Fairtrade West Africa Producer Network

Delegates at the London Chocolate Forum were address today (October 7) by Ivorian cocoa farmer, Fortin Bley, who warned that without an increase in efforts to involve farmer a whole generation of growers may be lost.

Sharing the experience of cocoa farmers, at the conference as the 2016 cocoa harvest officially gets under way, and just ahead of Chocolate Week (10-16 October), the UK’s biggest chocolate celebration, he said:

“Behind every house made of mud is real hardship. If you want to continue consuming chocolate, we all need to have a common vision. Ask us what we need, and we’ll talk to you, and we’ll take a decision together. That’s why we’ve chosen voluntarily, without any pressure, to migrate into Fairtrade certification, because we know they have human values, transparency and democracy.

“For us, the FAIRTRADE Mark represents a dignified producer. So, if you really want to change the life of producers, work in partnership with us, and you’ll make us happy.”

If you want to continue consuming chocolate, we all need to have a common vision. Ask us what we need, and we’ll talk to you, and we’ll take a decision together.

He said that cocoa communities urgently need development, especially in West Africa, where many live on $2 a day or less. Farming communities continue to be blighted by child labour, and lack the essential services such as clean water, decent homes with electricity, adequate healthcare and education that most of us take for granted.

“Are we proud to see producers living like that? Do you think they can produce cocoa living this life? We need to change things. That’s why it’s so important for me to show you how cocoa is actually produced,” he told the room. He warned that farmers’ children see no future in cocoa and continue to switch to more profitable crops or head for the cities in the hope of finding a more dependable livelihood. As a result, the average age of cocoa farmers in West Africa is now 51.

These factors add up to serious concerns across the industry about the long-term sustainability of the supply chain: no cocoa farmers = no chocolate. As a result, the $150bn global chocolate industry is facing a watershed moment as demand for cocoa is increasing, but farmers are ever more vulnerable to shocks caused by climate change and extreme poverty.

Jon Walker, Cocoa Supply Chain Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation said:

“It’s simply wrong that cocoa farmers who grow one of our most indulgent treats are going hungry themselves. The cocoa industry should be the envy of other markets, with demand for its products growing year on year, as more and more people around the world can afford to indulge their taste for chocolate, but cocoa farmers must be empowered to reach a living income for a truly sustainable chocolate industry.

“Fairtrade supports empowerment of cocoa farmers. Many have turned to Fairtrade to address key social and environmental challenges. We’d like to work with more businesses to drive through long lasting, impactful change so farmers can decide their own futures.”

In recent years, global companies have increased investment in strategies to improve productivity and ensure their supply of cocoa, as well as in sustainability issues related to child labour, youth protection and climate change. But any intervention should also enable farmers to move to more sustainable production that addresses economic, social and environmental challenges.

Uniquely, Fairtrade empowers farmers to meet these challenges. Fairtrade Standards provide a framework for cocoa farmers to increase their incomes and reduce poverty – by forming or strengthening existing democratic organisations, farmers can improve their business systems, access new markets and develop long-term trading partnerships. And the Fairtrade Premium can be invested in providing training in modern, sustainable farming techniques to improve cocoa quality and productivity, as well as in financing projects to improve community healthcare, education and infrastructure.

Fortin Bley is a cocoa farmer, Secretary General of his co-operative CANN, and chair of the Fairtrade West Africa Producer Network.



How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener




green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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