Don't Support Child Labor. Buy Fair Trade Chocolate.

Submitted by greenamerica on

Green consumers and the Fair Trade movement have advocated to end child labor and uplift cocoa farmers with fair trade infrastructure. But after 15 years of the $100 billion chocolate industry reporting to work on the issues and making commitments, children are still slaves to chocolate.

Forget about school for these children; they’re used as free labor and put in danger through intense physical labor tasks and harvesting jobs with machetes. Of the 5.5 million children estimated to be in forced labor around the world, numbers of how many are cocoa laborers range from the tens to the hundreds of thousands.

The chocolate industry has used child labor for over a century. Over 70% of cocoa comes from West Africa, and most of it is harvested in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. While Nestle made 100 billion in sales last year, the two countries that the entire chocolate industry relies on have a combined GDP of $73 billion.

Despite the efforts of the Fair Trade movement to drive major corporations to share their massive profits with the farmers they depend on, the average farmer in each country lives well below the international poverty line. Enter the world of cocoa farmers and discover the grueling conditions and financial inequities for the people who produce the world’s supply.

Green America has played a major role in pushing big chocolate companies to change their ethics. Our coalitional campaign against Hershey brought together tens of thousands of voices against child labor, and Hershey made a major commitment to ethically certify 100% of their cocoa by 2020, using third-party certifiers Rainforest Alliance, Utz, and Fair Trade USA.

Our campaigns director Liz Jardim went to Ghana last year for a summit on the ongoing challenges in the cocoa industry, and we will continue to be vigilant about corporate commitments translating into reality.

Find out how chocolate companies stack up with Green America’s 2016 Chocolate Scorecard and look out for fair trade chocolate options the next time you shop.

Photo credit: ICCFO © CC BY SA-4.0


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