1.8 million children are involved in the cocoa industry in West Africa, and some have been enslaved. GoodnessDirect deals with ethical chocolate companies and is proud to have dozens of ethical Easter Eggs available on its shelves.
For dozens of ethical Easter Eggs, there's a huge range available from GoodnessDirect.
This Easter the average British ten year-old is expected to tuck into two and a half kilos of chocolate. That might seem like a good result for ethical cocoa traders whose sales are on the increase. But while sales are up for Fairtrade chocolate, its share of the market still only amounts to 12.5% of the total chocolate sold in the UK.1
Behind these figures lies a shocking truth. It's very easy to give a British child an Easter Egg that was farmed by a Ghanaian boy or girl who works under brutal conditions.2
Last year an investigation by the US Government found that almost 1.8 million children now work in chocolate production in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.3 Yet up to 70% of the world's chocolate is still farmed in these two countries.4 Furthermore, in 2001 leading businesses in the chocolate industry signed up to end the tragedy but, ten years down the line, there's been insubstantial change for Ghanaian (or British) children.
~ What alternative options are there? ~
Buying Fairtrade Easter Eggs such as Green & Blacks or Divine, available from GoodnessDirect, provides a good assurance that all those involved in farming the cocoa will not be subject to exploitation.
There's no 100% percent guarantee that children will not have been exploited but the close vigilance of Fairtrade officers provides a continuous check on the farmers the organisation partners with. Fairtrade has helped organise co-operative businesses in both Ghana and the Ivory Coast which give cocoa farming communities a better life and decreases the likelihood of child labour.5
Moo Free, makers of an excellent dairy-free 'milk-chocolate' egg, are a new start-up business who also source their cocoa from a Fairtrade source and, like Green & Blacks, their chocolate is organic too.
While larger confectionery companies slowly begin to take notice, there are many small British chocolatiers who work hard to ensure that their chocolate is ethically sourced. Some not only wish to maintain Fairtrade standards but even surpass them.
Montezumas is such an example. The pioneering brand produces Easter Eggs for which they import cocoa from co-operative plantations in the Dominican Republic and Peru. They say that the prices they pay the farmers are even fairer than under Fairtrade.
Meanwhile Booja Booja is a vegan chocolate company; they work closely with businesses in Ecuadora and Peru so that their truly conscientious customers can have confidence that all those exquisite truffle filled Easter Eggs are totally guilt free.
~ Can any more be done? ~
The anti-slavery movement is growing.
Join with Stop the Traffik to support the 10 campaign: marking the ten years that have passed since the chocolate industry committed to eradicate the use of child labour. 6,7
Anti Slavery International is a UK charity working to fight against slavery around the world. Read their report on turning the focus onto the cocoa traders and support the effort. 8
Follow the current parliamentary bill for the Eradication of Slavery (UK Company Supply Chains) Bill 311 2010-12 and lobby a local MP to support it.9
-- GoodnessDirect.co.uk is the health and well-being haven with 1000s of foods available to be delivered to homes throughout the UK. It caters for customers of traditional foods, vegans and vegetarians, organic foodies, and those on a restricted diet such as gluten or dairy free. The GoodnessDirect website features in-depth dietary information, so that customers know exactly what they are getting, and the service includes a gift-wrap option for the delivery of gifts to friends. Visit http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk.
4. ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/press-and-media-centre/news/WCMS_162692/lang—en/index.htm; thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/16/chocolate-explainer/
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