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Whole Foods Market has designated February "Whole Trade Guarantee Month" to promote its ongoing commitment to sourcing socially responsible products from over 25 nations.
"By giving Whole Trade products as gifts this year, shoppers can help the most environmentally and socially responsible producers in developing countries establish themselves in the global marketplace," noted Whole Foods global produce coordinator Karen Christensen.
During the month the natural and organic food retailer is appropriately featuring Valentine's Day gifts that have received its Whole Trade Guarantee seal of approval, including Theo organic single-origin chocolates from Costa Rica and Whole Trade Roses from Ecuador.
Additionally, visitors to Whole Foods' Web site can enter a sweepstakes for the chance to receive free Whole Trade flowers for a year.
Products bearing the Whole Trade Guarantee must meet Whole Foods' quality standards, and producers must ensure fair wages and safe conditions for workers while caring for the environment during production. With each purchase, 1 percent of the retail price goes to the Whole Planet Foundation, which helps in combat poverty in developing countries.
Whole Foods launched the Whole Trade Guarantee socially responsible buying program two years ago with the aim of helping low-income producers gain entry into and stability within the global marketplace. All Whole Trade Guarantee products offered in stores are certified by one of the supermarket's three third-party certifiers: TransFair USA, the Rainforest Alliance and the Institute for Marketecology.
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods operates over 275 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom under such banners as Whole Foods Market, Fresh & Wild, Harry's Farmers Market, Wild Oats and Capers Community Market.