Not all chocolate is created equal–and I’m not talking about flavor. Much of the world’s chocolate supply is produced via slavery and child labor, especially in West Africa and the Ivory Coast. Interested in eating good chocolate without supporting inhumane practices? Here are some resources.
The documentaries Slavery: A Global Investigation (2000, 78 min.) and The Dark Side of Chocolate (2010, 46 min.) can provide you with more in-depth information about the links between the chocolate industry and the West African slave trade.
Slavefreechocolate.org maintains a list of chocolate companies whose chocolate is produced ethically, without the use of slave labor.
When in doubt about your chocolate, check the wrapper. Fair Trade chocolate will often display its status on the wrapper. Companies that go the extra mile in sourcing their chocolate ethically and obtaining fair-trade certifications will be proud to display their credentials. Look for packaging with stamps like these:
You can often find the company’s story on their chocolate wrapper or website. Find out what they’re about!
A few of my personal favorites:
- Madecasse makes a point of manufacturing its chocolate in the same country where its cocoa beans are grown. Chocolate is worth more only after it has been manufactured, so keeping the cocoa grown and processed in the same country has a greater economic benefit for everyone involved in its production.
- Equal Exchange sources its products from small farmer co-ops located in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Ecuador and Peru. The farmers in these co-ops own their land and control their own livelihoods, profiting directly from the sale of the cocoa they grow–no slavery or child labor involved!
- Green & Black’s chocolate is Fair-Trade certified and committed to ethical sourcing standards in every step of their supply chain. Their Maya Gold bar was the first product to be awarded the Fairtrade Mark by the Fairtrade Foundation UK in 1994. Their website states, “We also believe that farmers who grow their crops organically are often more interested in, and concentrate on, the quality and taste of what they grow,” and it shows–G&B’s chocolate is freaking delicious.