Choosing that perfect Valentine’s Day present just gets trickier

14 February 2013
If finding the perfect Valentine’s Day present was not tricky enough already, a number of organisations are prompting Romeos (and Juliets) to make sure they consider the ethical dimension of the gifts they plan to give today. For example, have you ensured your chocolates are free of child labour? According to World Vision, two million children are involved in cacao farming, and 95 per cent of chocolate is not certified free from child or forced labour. "The bitter truth is children are doing dirty, dangerous and degrading work in the chocolate industry," said Cheryl Hotchkiss, manager of the ‘End Child Slavery’ campaign. What about a bunch of flowers? As SM has reported previously, roses grown in the Netherlands have a carbon footprint six times higher than those produced in Kenya. Surely you can’t go wrong with jewellery? But according to the Enough Project, ‘conflict gold’ is funding warlords – including one called ‘the terminator’ – in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Jewellery companies have a golden opportunity to be part of the solution to curb this growing trade by sourcing conflict-free gold from Congo,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the campaign organisation. While this may be enough to put off some of you, at least many still have the time to source an ethically sound present. A survey by FedEx has found 35 per cent of men, and 24 per cent of women wait until the last minute to choose their present – although these are the people willing to spend the most on their gifts.
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