Cadbury Goes Fair Trade

If you’ll excuse for a moment while I pander to corporate interests, I think it’s worth noting that Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bar will now be made from certified fair trade cocoa. This is great to hear, because this is a huge product from a huge company, and it’s another big step towards a world in which consumers have no excuse not to know about fair trade.

Cadbury and the Fairtrade Foundation today announced plans to achieve Fairtrade certification for Cadbury Dairy Milk, the nation’s top selling chocolate bar, by end of Summer 2009. This groundbreaking move will result in the tripling of sales of cocoa under Fairtrade terms for cocoa farmers in Ghana, both increasing Fairtrade cocoa sales for existing certified farming groups, as well as opening up new opportunities for thousands more farmers to benefit from the Fairtrade system.

The press release doesn’t indicate which countries the change will take effect in, but the UK and Canada are definitely included.

Read the press release on the Fairtrade Foundation website.

Google Picks Up the Tab for Inequality

The New York Times is reporting that Google is going to start compensating its gay/lesbian employees in same-sex partnerships, for the tax charged on their partner’s employer health benefits; a tax which heterosexual married couples are exempt from. It’s a little thing, but it’s nice to see a corporation do something to right an injustice that has nothing to do with their bottom line.

So Google is essentially going to cover those costs, putting same-sex couples on an even footing with heterosexual employees whose spouses and families receive health benefits.

The company began to look at the disparity after a gay employee pointed it out, said Laszlo Bock, Google’s vice president for people operations (also known as human resources). Google, by the way, says its benefits team seriously considers any suggestions on how to expand its coverage. “We said, ‘You’re right, that doesn’t seem fair,’ so we looked into it,” Mr. Bock said.

Read the whole article at the New York Times

Vancouver Safe Injection Site Survives

Vancouver’s Insite is the first safe injection site in North America. The project has been shown to reduce public drug use, needle sharing, littering, and increase addiction treatment. The Canadian government has been trying to shut it down recently, but in January, Insite won a court battle that recognized them as providing an “essential medical service.”

The B.C. Court of Appeal has dismissed a federal government appeal, which means InSite, the Vancouver supervised safe-injection site that was the first of its kind in Canada, will remain open.

The federal government is expected to appeal Friday’s split 2-1 ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson reacted by saying he strongly supports the ruling and the continued operation of InSite to improve the lives of drug addicts.

“With this second consecutive decision in favour of InSite, I hope the federal government will drop its legal efforts so that we can go back to focusing on InSite for what it is — a harm reduction facility that saves lives and improves health outcomes for those living with addictions,” the mayor said in a statement.

Read the whole article at the Vancouver Sun

Pavement to Parks

Major cities like SF and NYC are beginning to realize they could do with a few less roads and parking lots — and they’re doing something about it.

In San Francisco, a handful of parking spaces and public right-of-ways are being remade into mini parks and plazas. Some are lined with trees sprouting from old dumpsters, others are buffered from traffic with large, discarded pipes; inside the improvised borders, tables, small patches of grass and concrete slabs are arranged for seating.

Meanwhile, the temporary pedestrian mall in Times Square is going to become permanent!

Read the whole article at Worldchanging

Estonia Cleans Up!

You probably didn’t hear about it, but in 2008 Estonia cleaned up 10,000 tons of trash in their forests by recruiting 50,000 people. How? Through an extensive media campaign and a good dose of networked collaboration.

The “Let’s Do It!” website is here, but in Estonian. So here’s a video in English!

Based on the success in Estonia, the campaign has gone worldwide!

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