Green is Good, but Ethically Sourced is Better

Sometimes I think sustainability is no longer a hot topic in packaging. It feels over-saturated, with just about every product coming out as “green,” from cleaning supplies, to chemicals, food items and more. Then there’s the sustainable aspect of packaging for everything from soup to nuts (literally) and drinks and cosmetics, too. If everyone is doing it, can it still be considered hot?

Well, maybe, but there is another trend that is generally tied to sustainability that is getting hotter than ever: ethically sourced ingredients, like chocolate and coffee. These types of products carry a consumer promise of responsibly grown, ethically traded goods.

Many packaged coffee and chocolate brands are still addressing sustainability issues because, well, they have to. Pressure is mounting all over the world, with television and social media increasing consumer awareness. Consumers see more images than ever of plastic in the oceans, and overall waste pile-up. It’s only a good thing that packagers are addressing this issue, but they are taking another step with the sourcing and trading of these ingredients, getting to the root of the product itself.

So, what does it mean exactly? According to an article at The Good Trade (, fair trade certification means not only that workers were paid fairly, but also those farmers had safe and environmentally friendly working conditions. Popular chocolate brands like Endangered Species Chocolate, Green & Black’s and Alter Eco Foods all tout ethically sourced beans, and fair-trade conditions. Then there are numerous coffee brands, even including private label lines, that carry this tag. Why?

Consumers are concerned about where their products, especially coffee, come from and about the people behind the product– are they paid fairly, and treated ethically? The issue of ethical sourcing is a top concern in the coffee industry, more so than other consumer packaged goods. Cocolate is closely following this suit.

So, maybe sustainability in general is not a hot topic anymore, but when married with ethically sourced and fair traded, these claims win consumers over and make the world a better place.

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