Using big events to promote fair trade.
Vredeseilanden - VECO was present during the Salon du Chocolat celebrated in Brussels from the 6th to the 8th of February 2015.
The Salon du Chocolat is considered the biggest chocolate fair in the world and has been held in more than 20 cities. It was the second time that the salon was organized in Brussels. In total there were more than 150 Belgian and international exhibitors, all of them chocolate entrepreneurs. During the three days thousands of people visited the fair.
VECO was represented through one of its partners:Ethiquable, a French cooperative which is a referent of fair trade in Europe. The company has a Single Origin purchasing policy. This means that they only buy directly from the farmers without any middlemen which allows higher prices for the producers. Ethiquable also helps the producers with specific projects to improve the volumes and the quality of their productions.
In the fair Ethiquable had a stand and together with Veco they did a small presentation of their projects. The workshop was titled “1001 flavors of fair trade chocolate” it was celebrated on Saturday 7th from 11 to 12. Around 50 people attended the session. Caroline Huyghe, VECO and Vincent De Grelle, CEO from Ethiquable explained the need for a fair cacao trade to ensure a high quality supply and the importance of fair trade on the lives of the smallholder farmers. The session was closed with a chocolate tasting organized by Isabelle Quiynen, chocolate expert and founder of Bitterzoet. She introduced the audience to the wide taste (and smell) pallet of the Ethiquable chocolate.
VECO and Ethiquable work together on two projects: The first is with VECO Mesoamerica in Nicaragua, where they source cacao directly from CACAONICA (a cocoa cooperative), the second is with Veco Andino in Ecuador; where they buy bananas to transform them into chips. They sell both end products in Belgian supermarkets. Both chains support hundreds of small scale producers with the result of improving their livelihoods.