I was chatting with Keith Don from World Vision Australia during Easter when the topic of chocolate inevitably came up. Keith told me that the chocolate industry has a dark side which few people know about…
Almost 3/4 of the world’s chocolate uses cocoa beans sourced from West Africa.
Instead of being able to go to school and play with their friends like Australian children – about 250,000 children work on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, routinely carrying heavy loads and working with fire, chemicals and knives, with little or no protection.
Over the last 10 years, the international media has started to expose the use of child labour in the cocoa industry.
Some media reports have claimed that in the worst cases children as young as six are being forced to work 80-100 hours a week, enduring beatings and malnutrition.
Be An Informed Chocolate Buyer!
It’s going to take time to eradicate child exploitation and trafficking in cocoa farms. As a community of informed consumers, we can make a difference by using our purchasing power to buy Fairtrade & Ethical chocolate and make it loud and clear to manufacturers that we demand ethically manufactured chocolate – free of child exploitation
Buying chocolate with Fairtrade certification is one way to ensure that chocolate you are eating is ethical
Look for the Fairtrade logo and the text “Guarantees a better deal for Third World Producers” as seen below on a block of Green & Blacks Fairtrade chocolate:
There are also other kinds of ethical chocolate produced without harming or exploiting people. Groups such as Endangered Species, Darrell Lea Easter Chocolate Bilbies and much of the chocolate produced in Australia with Australian ingredients would also fit into this category.
Read the the Good Chocolate Guide to find out the brands and stockists of ethical chocolate as well as how to pressure your local department store and supermarkets to stock more ethical chocolate, including Fairtrade chocolate – they need to know there’s a demand for it.