Yay Happy Easter weekend! Chocolate and deeper religious meanings are in the air!
Fact #1: 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa, where many farms employ children that are trafficked and forced to work in conditions akin to slavery.
Fact #2: An estimated 1.8 million children worldwide are at risk.
This Easter, don’t buy chocolate made with child labor.
But surely, you throw your hands in the air and ask me: “Maria, but how??!! How will I know??!!”
You’re right, it’s quite hard to detect something that happens so early in the production chain. In fact, many of these well known, enormous chocolate companies turn their cheeks and deem it “impossible” to clean up their chains of some of the worse forms of child rights abuses.
You can set the example for them and we’re going to make it easy for you.
Here are the brands to stay away from this Easter:
• Archer Daniels Midland Mars
• Barry Callebaut
• Ben & Jerry’s
• Fowler’s Chocolate
• Guittard Chocolate Company,
• See’s Candies
• The Chocolate Vault
Note: While most of these companies have issued condemnations of slavery, they acknowledged that they use Ivory Coast cocoa and so have no grounds to ensure consumers that their products are slavery-free.
According to slavefreechocolate.org “if the chocolate is organic, has a fair trade label or the cocoa is listed as being sourced from anywhere other than Ghana or The Ivory Coast then it’s slave free.”
Here are the brands to love:
• Denman Island Chocolate
• Divine Chocolate Co
• The Endangered Species Chocolate Company
• Equal Exchange
• Green and Black’s
• Health by Chocolate
• L.A. Burdick Chocolates
• La Siembra Cooperative (Camino)
• Max Havelaar
• Montezuma’s Chocolates
• Newman’s Own Organics
• Original Hawaiian Chocolate
• Plamil Organic Chocolate
• Rain Republic
• Rapunzel Pure Organics
• Seed & Bean Chocolate
• Shaman Chocolates
• Sweet Earth Chocolates
• Terra Nostra Organic
• Theo Chocolate
• Tony Chocolonely
• Trader Joe’s Organic Chocolate Bars
• Vivani Chocolate
In sum: Buy local, buy less “chain”-like brands who source outside of West Africa, buy organic, buy fair-trade.
Other steps you can take:
1. Get Free2Work smart phone app.
You can scan the barcode of any chocolate, and it will give that company a grade letter based on their proactive approaches to cleaning up their chain and disclosing their practices. It’s quite good. Highly recommend.
If you don’t have a smart phone, go to their website & search “Chocolate” in their industry drop-down menu for a list of companies they’ve been evaluating.
Total time: ~3-4 minutes to download app & scan barcode. 1- 2 minutes to search drop-down on website.
2. Sign this petition on change.org.
It takes a few minutes and great user experience designers have made it really easy for you to sign up and sign petitions for causes you care about. This particular petition is about bringing accountability to two particular big “guys”: Lindt and Ferrero (I know I feel you, I love Lindt AND Ferrero chocolate too…but guess what? I love the happiness and wellbeing of children more!)
Total time: ~5 minutes to sign up for account and sign the petition.
3. Watch Dark Side of Chocolate – a documentary film on the issue.
Total time: ~47 minutes.
Happy Easter, may you celebrate with tasty and slavery-free chocolate!