Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 52 of our Green Year: Going Fair With Chocolate

Awhile ago, we did a blog on going for organic and fair trade coffee because it actually gives money to the people who deserve it (the growers) and it is grown in a way that allows the environment not to be hurt. This is important to us, and to that end we have decided use our 52nd day of Our Green Year to only buy fair-trade and organic chocolate from now on.
Our friend Jen at Mother's Going Green did this already ( and now it is our turn.

Now, it is time for some not-so-friendly information from regarding the chocolate so many people buy.
  • The Ivory Coast provides 43 percent of the world's cocoa for chocolate, and a study in 2001 found that there was massive amounts of child slavery going on at the cocoa farms. So, the nice chocolate bar you just had today may have had its cocoa picked by a young boy or girl, forced into slavery. In Africa, it is estimated that 284,000 are working in horrible conditions to pick that cocoa for the chocolate products. U.S. manufacturers of chocolate say they are not responsible for the children because they don't own the plantations.
  • Currently, Hershey's and M&M/Mars control two-thirds of the $13 billion chocolate market in the United States. This means that the cocoa these companies use may come from child slavery plantations.
  • In 2005, the U.S. chocolate industry agreed to VOLUNTARY steps to end child slavery on the plantations, but as of now the deadline has passed and nothing has been done.
  • Fair Trade chocolate only represents one percent of the world's $60 billion chocolate market.
That is just talking about fair-trade and the conditions many children and other workers deal with for our sweet tooth, but what about the environmental impact?
Along with using child slavery at some plantations, those who grow the chocolate also clear off vast areas of land, and use pesticides that get into the water, air and the cocoa bean itself.

So, the next time you bite into a non-organic chocolate that is not fair-trade, you may taste the hands of a enslaved child and a bit of pesticide.

This is why Layla and I have gone fair-trade and organic with ALL of our chocolate from now on. If we are going to satisfy our sweet tooth, we are going to do it with a clean peace of mind.