I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Published March 13th 2013
You can have a clear conscience and chocolate too
Easter eggs. It all seems so simple really. The Easter Bunny leaves copious amounts of Easter chocolate, you and the kids tuck in, and you regret it later when you've overindulged and the kids are running around on a chocolate-induced high. But can you be sure that the Easter Bunny is sourcing ethical chocolate and should you care?
Before you stock up on your Easter chocolates this year take a look at the world's major chocolate producers who, despite many years of international criticism, still source the vast majority of their cocoa supplies from West African nations, primarily Côte d'Ivoire, where child slavery in the industry is endemic.
Research in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana (where 80% of the world's cocoa is produced) reported in 2011 shows that 1.8 million children work in cocoa production and of those only 5% in Côte d'Ivoire and 10% in Ghana worked for pay. The 2010 documentary, "The Dark Side of Chocolate" and the 2012 CNN report, "Chocolate's Child Slaves" suggest that despite the Harkin-Engel Protocol signed by major chocolate producers in 2001, it is not clear that any improvements have been made. It's important to note that the protocol is voluntary, non-binding and does not address problems in cocoa production in other nations.
Child labour in the production of cocoa. Image by electrolito from Wikimedia Commons.
I'm not suggesting that this is a simple problem that can be addressed with simple solutions. There are many complex issues involved in the broader Fair Trade debate, but until supply chains become more transparent the best you can do if you care about this issue is to purchase chocolate that is labelled Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ.
The Easter Bunny at our house this year will be sourcing his bounty from the following producers and suppliers. If you know of any other ethical suppliers please leave a comment for our readers.
* It's important to note that not all products produced by the following manufactures comply with ethical certifications. Check all boxes for the appropriate logos. *
Chocolatier Chocolates is a Melbourne-based family company whose Easter range includes 2 Fairtrade gift boxes in Milk and Dark Chocolate and 2 Fairtrade 100g Easter Eggs in Milk and Dark Chocolate. They are available at selected Oxfam shops, David Jones, Coles, Australia Post outlets, The Trading Circle, Woolworths and Myer. They also have 2 Melbourne shops - one at 244 Waterdale Road, North Ivanhoe and one at 444 Hampton Street, Hampton.
Cadbury's vast range of Easter chocolates includes one Fairtrade Certified egg. Its 65g milk chocolate egg can be purchased from Coles and some independent supermarkets. Its Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate block is now also Fairtrade certified.
Coles new private label 70g Fairtrade Certified Milk Chocolate Bunny will be available in all Coles stores.
The Trading Circle, a project of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, which aims to help women throughout the world to trade out of poverty, also sells a range of ethical chocolate at their Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane shops. You'll find them at:
You can also find cute papier-mâché bunnies and chicks filled with chocolate buttons at Oxfam online or at their stores. They also offer beautiful, hand-decorated egg, chicken or rabbit papier-mâché boxes, that come without the chocolate.
Image from Oxfam website.
Here's to a guilt-free Easter, at least as far as ethical chocolate is concerned.