Is chocolate at Easter a treat we take for granted?

WelCom April 2019: Anne Powell rcfor ANZRATH Wellington “Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.” Pope Francis,…

WelCom April 2019:

Anne Powell rc
for ANZRATH Wellington

“Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.” Pope Francis, 1 January 2015

If you’re buying chocolate this Easter look for slave-free logos on chocolate wrappers as an indicator of slave-free cocoa.

Chocolate is a widespread sweet indulgence, but for many cocoa farmers the chocolate industry is anything but sweet.

More than 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa is grown in West Africa where over 10 million people are income dependent on cocoa farming. But low-commodity prices mean poverty is extensive in cocoa-farming communities.

Most villages lack basic services such as clean water and sanitation. Villagers often have to walk for hours a day to collect water, which is frequently dirty and contributes to disease.

Many children have to work to help their families make ends meet. Some as young as six years old are used as slave labour. As well as being deprived of an education they are often engaged in dangerous work, such as using machetes and applying toxic pesticides.

Is chocolate at Easter a treat we take for granted? Archdiocese of Wellington

Some chocolate-making companies helping to make changes:

  • All Nestle chocolate made in Australia and New Zealand is now UTZ (Universal Trade Zone) certified.
  • Waikato Valley – suppliers of Easter eggs and bunnies to the Warehouse – say their chocolate is ethically sourced and human-trafficking free. ‘Their cocoa supplier, Cargill, has made a number of strong commitments to their cocoa sourcing and supply, particularly around human rights, land rights and child labour,’ a Waikato Valley spokesperson says.
  • Whittaker’s Dark Ghana chocolate block is certified totally Fairtrade.
  • Often local or craft chocolatiers use ethically-sourced cocoa products.

Actions

  1. Gather a few others to help organise a slavery-free chocolate campaign in your parish, school or local supermarket.
  2. Find out the supply chain in any chocolate you buy.
  3. Send letters or emails to companies in Aotearoa-New Zealand not yet making or selling ethically-produced chocolate, asking them to produce slavery-free products.
  4. Send emails of congratulations to companies who use ethically sourced products.
  5. Go online to www.slavefreechocolate.org or www.tradeaid.org.nz/chocolate to learn more about bringing an end to child slavery and child labour in the cocoa industry.

Anne Powell rc of the Cenacle Community, Waikanae, is a member of Aotearoa New Zealand Religious Against Trafficking of Humans (ANZRATH), Wellington, that raises awareness to combat modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation.