Choose good chocolate this Easter
Easter is the season for eating chocolate eggs - so soon kids all over Australia will have their hands on the Easter Bunny’s sweet treats!
While Easter brings chocolatey smiles to kids’ faces, sadly this isn’t the case for the children working on cocoa farms along the Ivory Coast of West Africa.
It’s estimated that approximately 800,000 children are enslaved on cocoa farms along the Ivory Coast, which is where nearly half of the world’s cocoa supply is sourced (although child slavery isn’t isolated to this region alone).
The children are either sold by impoverished families or stolen. They’re forced to work for little to no pay and receive no schooling nor (what is often the case) enough food. They’re forced to work with dangerous machetes and pesticides with no protective clothing. It’s grim, but it’s reality. And it’s time we face up to it. As consumers, we can actually do our bit to help. It’s relatively easy - buy good chocolate.
By ‘good’ chocolate we mean chocolate made of ingredients sourced from ethical and sustainable farms, where farm workers are adults who are paid a fair price - and work under fair conditions. Also the environment is looked after as best as possible.
By purchasing this sort of chocolate, we let manufacturers know that we’re savvy consumers who don’t want to buy into unethical or unsustainable practices. In conjunction with the advocacy work that organisations such as World Vision do, our purchasing decisions will make a difference.
A guide to good chocolate
‘Good’ chocolate brands, in most cases, are both fairtrade and organic. This means not only are they assuring fair prices for farmers and no child slavery, they are also assuring good environmental practices. You’ll find them at most health food and specialty food stores:
Cocolo, both fairtrade and organic
Alter Eco, both fairtrade and organic
Pana Chocolate, uses fairtrade and organic ingredients
Loving Earth, fairtrade and organic ingredients
Rawsome, organic, dairy and gluten free
Daintree Chocolate, uses Australian-grown cocoa
Monsieur Truffe, uses organic ingredients and single-origin cocoa
Cocoa Rhapsody, fairtrade and organic
Another staff favourite!! Chocolatier Floyd Millar featured in our cookbook The Sustainable Table and his chocolate is truly remarkably delicious.
Are there any others?
The selection above is our picks and we like them best for speaking to both ethical and environmental concerns. However, we understand you may be at a loss if you can’t source these brands near you, so check out the lists below for more options (Aldi’s Just Organics, Fairtrade and Organic, included):
Other guides to fairtrade/palm oil free/organic chocolate:
Want to know more?
If you’re only just learning about the issue and want to find out more, we recommend the following resources:
A documentary about the cocoa trade:
The Dark Side of Chocolate
More information on the Fairtrade label
Read our blog post on the topic here.
Further reading on child slavery in the cocoa trade:
This blog originally appeared on the Sustainable Table website. Sustainable Table is a not-for-profit organisation that empowers people to use their shopping dollar to vote for a food system that is fair, humane, healthy and good for the environment. Globally, it supports projects in developing communities that help to restore the natural environment and improve food security.