Are you aware that the chocolate you eat may be the product of child slavery? At least seventy percent of the world’s chocolate supply originates in West Africa, with the Ivory Coast and Ghana as leading producers. A shocking report in 2001 called “A Taste of Slavery” exposed a world in which boys as young as 12 were forced to work 13-hour work days on cacao plantations in the Ivory Coast, enduring malnutrition, beatings, and psychological abuse.
The easiest way to make a difference? Vote with your purchases. The major chocolate companies – Hershey, Kraft, and Nestle – do not have fair-trade certification, which includes strict policies that monitor and prohibit child labor. These certifications also ensure that suppliers earn an appropriate fair wage. Look for fair-trade chocolates made by Alter Eco, Divine, Equal Exchange, Sjaak’s and Theo Chocolate. All of these chocolates are organic, too! An added benefit of buying chocolate from companies that support fair trade is that they tend to be more health-conscious, socially responsible, and environmentally friendly. Alter Eco’s products are made using sustainable farming methods, for example, and 45% of Divine is actually owned by the cacao farmers themselves.
To take further action, write to your congresspeople and encourage them to make sure the International Cocoa Initiative implements ethical labor practices. You can also write to the major chocolate companies and urge them to adopt third-party certification for their cocoa. Green American magazine provides current petitions on their website so that you can contact these unethical companies directly.
By shifting our focus as consumers to companies that promote social responsibility instead of ignore it, we can have an impact on ending child labor.
Updated on December 18, 2012 to add:
Korfhage, Andrew: “Valentine Chocolates Tainted by Child Labor.” Green American, January-February 2011.
Raghavan, Sudarsan and Sumana Chatterjee: “A Taste of Slavery.” Knight Ridder newspapers, June 24, 2001.
Dr. Ryan's favorite resources for gluten-free recipes, restaurants / stores and shopping guides.
Dr. Ryan's favorite resources for up-to-the-moment information on health care politics.
4-minute workout that adapts to every fitness level.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is a toxic GMO sweetener, pure and simple.
Functional Medicine is a highly accurate method to heal the body by designing a custom nutritional program for each individual. The result of a custom program is to restore function to the organs and the immune system.Read more...
Naturopathy employs the natural forces that the body has to heal. Through modulating the endocrine system, the detoxification pathways, and the rejuvenation forces of the body, it can heal and be brought into a state of vibrant health.Read more...
Low-Force Chiropractic is a highly refined method of aligning the bones and joints that never involves any twisting or popping. This gentle technique delivers maximum results in a minimum number of treatments. Using a system of reflex analysis, the body's own innate intelligence guides Dr. Ryan exactly where and when it needs to be adjusted.Read more...