Categories: Knights' Hood
Have a (Sustainable) Valentines Day
By Katia Dmitrieva, Corporate Knights, Online Content Coordinator
Say hello to Valentine’s Day, when the daily newspapers are filled with love-related stories, restaurants are booked solid with pricey prix-fix menus, and the world is painted pink and red with love. This is also the time of year when things like chocolate, roses, and jewellery are expected from your loved one. But this day can cause more pain than just scratches from thorns on the aforementioned flowers and can result in more than just broken hearts for little boys and girls around the world.
The three main items associated with Valentines Day--roses, chocolate, and diamonds-- are wreaking havoc for the environment and for communities around the world. From roses that are dipped in chemicals and wreaking havoc in ecological sites in Africa to a chocolate trade that is leading experts to call it “slavery,” these goods that are supposed to symbolize love end up feeling a little hollow.
But there are many ways to avoid falling into the unsustainable trap—and do it cheaply. Because, let’s face it, this day is already pretty expensive as it is. Here are CK's top tips for a romantic and ethical day.
- Buy organic and fair-trade chocolate. If you haven't considered the economic and environmental impacts of buying sustainable chocolate, you need to read this Bloomberg article. There are ethical issues all along the chocolate-making route, from growing cocoa beans to harvesting and import price. Check out Fairtrade Canada's guide to buying chocolate. Some local favourites include ChocoSol (try the dark and creamy chocolate pucks—mix them with hot milk and a splash of honey and you are tasting the food of the gods) and Camino (the 67 percent cocoa mint bar is probably the best thing to happen since people started adding stuff to candy.)
- Buy organic and fair-trade flowers. Roses are red, violets are blue, it's bad for the earth, and for you, too. (See what we did there?) There are a host of issues with buying that dozen roses at the convenience store for 10 bucks. do you know where they were grown? Do you know the farmers? The Council of Canadians compiled a report on the detrimental "rose effect" on several communities. Try finding a local dealer of eco floral at Sierra Eco.
- Don’t buy anything at all. Tell your loved ones that you love them with a phone call or a chat, go for a winter walk with your sweetie, or just stay at home and watch a movie after work. It isn’t a law that you need to buy presents to show your love. As one Twitter user on our feed put it “I love you every day of the year, I don’t need Valentines Day to prove it.”
- Stay away from blood diamonds. The only red in your Valentines Day should be in the card, not in your baubles. Did you also know the effects of diamond mining in our Great White North? In the furtherance of academia, check out this thesis for the University of Waterloo for more details. You can even just brush through the abstract. We promise not to judge. You can source some sustainable goodies at Brilliant Earth, a company that promises you can track your gem from the source to your glistening finger. Another option is lab-produced gems. check them out here.
And if this little post wasn't as filling as a box of chocolates, check out the Guardian's interactive take on Vday. But you love us more, right?