Slave-Free Chocolate

My friend Julia sent this to me, and I thought I'd pass it along to chocolate lovers everywhere:

If you are like me, you love chocolate. You are the person who doesn't not fathom the people who claim to not like chocolate. I literally explain it in terms of a genetic disorder. It must be. It makes no sense to me otherwise.

However, in that last year I have learned the very dark side to chocolate. Many of the workers who harvest cocoa beans are children, working in appalling conditions. Worse, many of the child laborers have been trafficked into this line of work.

Close to 70% of chocolate comes from West Africa, and the area is critically dependent upon the export. However, our consumption of cheap chocolate lowers the trade prices of the commodity and influences the reliance upon child labor in this industry, as well as the poverty levels among cocoa farmers. The good news is that we do carry an influence.
Buying fair trade chocolate is a great way to break this cycle and reliance of child labor, and increase the economic opportunities in Western Africa. As we enter into our holiday season we can begin to greatly influence a shift.

I am asking you to buy only fair trade and slave-free chocolate this year, and ask people you know to do the same. When we choose not to buy chocolate that won't guarantee fair business practices, we are making it less profitable to traffic humans.

In the online video, http://www.storyofstuff.com/, Annie Leonard talks you through the purchase of a "sale" item. She makes the point that often our Point of Sale price does not even cover the cost of shipping the item from its origin, the cost of the resource itself, or even the packaging. It certainly doesn't cover the cost of the retail worker's hourly pay, and finally, it doesn't cover the cost of the labor required to harvest the resource. So when you pay $0.79 for a bag of M&M's or a Milky Way, you don't really pay for it- but someone does. In this case, children pay for it.

Please join me in saying that this is not ok. Tell chocolatiers that we want chocolate, but we don't want it bittered with the process of trafficking that keeps it cheap. I don't want to give trick or treaters' bags full of candy that was harvested by children their same age. I want chocolate to be free.

Visit www.Fairtradeusa.org for a free "Reverse Trick or Treating Kit" to spread the positive message that buying really good chocolate is actually good for everyone.Visit The Chain Store Reaction at http://chainstorereaction.com/ and send an email to M&M's asking them to join you in the fight to eradicate modern slavery.Visit Not For Sale's Chocolate Campaign at https://nfs.webconnex.com/giving/buydifferently/chocolate for an effective and comprehensive kit on reversing the cycle.Or, if you simply want to just refuse to buy any chocolate that does not carry the slave free or fair trade label that will make an echo as well. There are strength in numbers, and the more of us willing to take a stand, even on the small issues, the more power we have in the fight to end this horrific cycle.

Slave-free chocolate brands:
* Equal Exchange (Whole Foods, New Seasons)
* Endangered Species (Whole Foods, Target, New Seasons)
* Rapunzel (Whole Foods)
* Dagoba (at most Organic grocery stores)
* Green and Black’s (available at Target!)
* Newman’s Own (New Seasons, Whole Foods)
* Cloud Nine* Tropical Source (New Season’s, Whole Foods)
* Shaman* Any fair-trade certified brands (look for the black and white Transfair logo)

1 comments:

Becca | September 30, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Thanks for posting about this! I am totally buying slave-free chocolate!