Halloween is just around the corner! Soon, children will be parading up and down streets, promising to stay out of mischief in exchange for delicious treats.
This year, as you decide what treats to hand out to trick-or-treaters, we ask you to think of the children – whether they are dressed up as little ghouls, goblins, or superheroes, or working dangerous jobs in cocoa fields.
According to research from Tulane University, over 2 million children worked on cocoa fields in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in the 2013/2014 growing season. This number has not changed much since activists, governments, and industry leaders started working together over a decade ago to reduce child labor in the world’s top two cocoa producing countries.
Although this is disheartening news, there’s no need to forego chocolate just yet. There are several Fair Trade options for Halloween treats that you can feel good about giving out. And even mainstream chocolate companies are becoming more receptive to trying new approaches to address low wages and child labor, including more transparency in their sourcing, assistance to farmers, and empowering women, that labor and children’s rights activists have been advocating for.
Meanwhile, for Halloween this year, you can support smaller chocolate companies who are helping improve the lives of farmers. Here are some of our favorites:
Divine chocolate sells mini pieces that are perfectly sized for greeting tricky treaters. Divine Chocolate not only sells Fair Trade chocolate, they are also co-owned by Kuapa Kokoo, the farmers’ cooperative they source the cocoa from. This means that Kuapa Kokoo farmers receive the Fairtrade minimum price and Fair Trade premium for their items, as well as a portion of profits from the sale of Divine Chocolate bars. Kuapa Kokoo also has two seats on their Board of Directors, ensuring that farmer voices and needs are represented at multiple levels throughout the company.
Equal Exchange sources the cocoa for their chocolate treats directly from farming cooperatives that are Fair Trade certified, allowing them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with farmers. Because they have this relationship, they also have a better idea about the conditions the cocoa is being grown, and ensure that child labor was not involved. Equal Exchange offers kits with mini chocolates and cards to hand out that explain why Fair Trade chocolates are better for kids overseas.
If you are having a hard time finding these options, or are out of time, take a copy of our Chocolate Scorecard with you to the store to help you choose between the different options that are available to you.
Looking for something that’s not chocolate? Look through our listing of Green Business Network certified members to find another delicious – and fair – alternative.