Help the bunnies source ethical chocolate and buy local in Singapore this Easter.
It's hard to resist the commercial Easter goodies in the shops around this period, especially with kids asking for the brightly wrapped big-brand Easter egg, you know, the one with the Bare Bears on them or the surprise gift. But everyone can enjoy Easter without having to compromise on yummy chocolates and fun decorations. Here's a simple guide with 5 ways to make Easter more sustainable.
1. Ethical and Sustainable Easter Chocolate
Just like not all sugars are equal in the realm of sustainability, chocolates are not identical. And we're not talking about the flavours and cookie dough varieties, but the actual cocoa beans themselves.
Most big-brand bars contain soy and palm oil, which inevitably entails ethical and environmental baggage before you even start to factor in the cocoa itself. Smallholders who produce the beans are often victims of price fluctuations and the dictatorship of multinationals which result in a catch 22 of poverty and dependence. According to the 2018 Cocoa Barometer, produced by a consortium of not-for-profits, Côte d’Ivoire cocoa farm households on average earn only 37% of a living income. Not a single company met its 70% reduction of child labour by 2020. From an environmental standpoint, over 90% of West Africa’s original forests have been deforested to meet the demands of cheap chocolate.
The real challenge is in finding chocolate that is thus both ethical, ensuring acceptable living and working standards (Fairtrade focuses on this), and sustainable, protecting precious forests and wildlife habitats (which is what the Rainforest Alliance concentrates their efforts on).
2. Support local chocolate makers
Did you know that Singapore has local chocolate makers too? Companies like ethically sourced and award-winning Fossa Chocolate not only take pride in knowing where they source their beans from, but also handcraft their chocolate in a traditional way here in Singapore.
In their own words:
Most industrial chocolate makers make chocolate from semi-finished products (pre-grounded cacao liquor, cocoa butter etc.), achieving cost-saving and consistency in product. As a small batch chocolate maker, we do things a little differently. Aiming to bring out the best flavours from every batch of cacao, we make our chocolate the manual and time-consuming way.
Created by a group of friends, Singapore's first bean-to-bar chocolate company offers artisan chocolates free of flavouring, vegetable oil and emulsifiers. They are organic and vegan too!
Local produce also means that you can get chocolate with less packaging if you order your own batch and buy just what you can eat. While we couldn't find a statistic for the chocolate packaging waste in Singapore, in the United Kingdom alone, where chocolate-lovers eat about 500,000 tons of chocolate each year, about 18,000 tons of sweets go to waste.
3. Add vegetables to your Easter meals
Passover, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are a great opportunity for many families around the globe to reunite over copious meals. Look for local vegetable farmers such as Meod Farm.
Here are our ten simple vegan (VG) and vegetarian (V) suggestions (that don' require anything fancy or super cooking skills):
1. Salmon bagel (VG)
2. Simple Raw Zucchini Roll-Ups (VG)
4. Crispy Greek-Style Pie (V)
5. Easter Biscuits (V)
7. Chocolate Party Traybake (VG)
8. Butter Bean Stew (V)
9. Hot Cross Buns (VG)
10. Vegetarian Sausage Rolls (V)
4. Source your eggs and Fish locally and responsibly
Singapore doesn't have a huge amount of local produce (but that is all set to change with the country's 30% by 2030 goals!) but we do have local eggs. Look out for Hay Dairies, Seng Choon Farm, Chew's and N&N Agriculture (commercialized under Egg Story).
Look sustainably caught fish, and follow the WWF’s Singapore Seafood Guide - you don't want to be inadvertently supporting unethical practices that are simultaneously threatening our ocean health. According to WWF Singapore, 75% of our seafood is fished unsustainably. This includes our local favourites such as Indian Threadfin (or“Ngoh Hur”) used in fish porridge; the Silver Pomfret, commonly used in Chinese dishes, and Yellow Banded Scad (or “Ikan Kuning”), which makes Nasi Lemak what it is. If we don't act collectively, these species could very well disappear from our Singaporean menus well within our lifetime.
5. Make decorations in-house
What's the correlation between Christmas leftovers and an egg hunt you might wonder? If you're baking cakes and using eggs, make sure to break them gently, by piercing a small hole in them, just enough to let the insides out for use but to keep the eggshell intact for decorating.
You can make beautiful naturally dyed eggs to decorate the home or add to the table as centerpieces when you have your family over. It's simple and 100% safe for even the youngest of children to handle ensuring a fun family activity for everyone that will have guests admiring your natural rococo designs!
Use broken eggshells to ward off slugs from your plants - the sharp edges prevent them from getting near your plants.
And talking about plants and greens, replace the tacky fake grass decorations and use magazine pages or recycled raffia you have around the house to line your egg baskets.
What are your Easter tips for this year? Share with us in the comments ad we might feature them on our social media! More sustainable Easter tips from our 2019 blog post here.