chocolate’s bitter side
Chocolate’s Bitter Side
…the ugly truth about some chocolates’ origins and practices used to sustain this highly profitable sweet.
Do you know? Most of the world’s chocolate comes from small farms located in western Africa, particularly the Ivory Coast. What’s ugly is that many of these farms use child slave labor to harvest their cocoa beans. Young slave boys are trafficked from neighboring countries or even sold by their parents to harvest against their will with no pay. Conditions they endure are horrific; they suffer greatly.
How has this happened and why does it continue? Low pay from the larger chocolate companies forces small farmers to extremely cut corners; some governments don’t prosecute traffickers; consumers demand low prices and will purchase according to price; and lastly, some reporters hoping to unveil the truth have been killed.
What’s the solution? What can we do? As we know from business 101, demand influences supply. So, if consumers demand certified fair-trade, slave-free products, there will be less supply needed. Thus, please scrutinize your next chocolate bar purchase as the trickle effect will be that chocolate companies will realize there truly is a demand for chocolate that isn’t created by slaves. Look for chocolates with labels that state certified fair-trade, certified slave-free.
Also note that organic chocolate mostly derives only from Central and South America. Currently, no organic chocolate is from western Africa.
What to buy for your valentine (since the love holiday is right around the corner)? These three ethical companies sell slave-free chocolate and give some proceeds to the cocoa farming communities.
A fair-trade chocolate co-op
45% owned by cacao farmers in Ghana
Partners with small farmer co-ops
Endangered Species Chocolate
Partners with Nigerian co-op,
Donates 10% of profits to Nigerian co-op villages & other partner programs
Other ethical-created chocolate companies can be found from this table: http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/main.html#Table
As Charles M. Schultz brilliantly said: “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
*Stayed tuned for the next blog about the health benefits of this divine candy.