How sweet is my chocolate?

Posted in October 3rd, 2016
by Jacinta Lithgow
Comments Off on How sweet is my chocolate?

16days-chocolate-acrathHow Sweet is my Chocolate?

Ask the Question.  

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

We invite students and teachers to join ACRATH and the global community for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

Ask the question – how sweet is my chocolate?

Cocoa is a key ingredient of chocolate.

Much of the chocolate sold in Australia is made using cocoa beans picked by children, many of whom have been enslaved, or forced to work in exploitative conditions. The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) estimates that there are more than 1.5 million children working in the cocoa sector in West Africa, where about 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced.

World Vision in its report, Chocolate’s Bitter Taste estimates that Australians consume between $1.3 and $3 billion (or 72,000 tonnes) of chocolate each year.

Chocolate consumption at Easter and Christmas is huge. According to a Roy Morgan research report , “In January 2014, 29% of Australians 14 years and older reported eating boxed chocolates at least once in the preceding four weeks”.

Geoffrey Smith, then General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, said:

“In the 12 months to September 2014, Cadbury Favourites is the most popular brand among boxed chocolate eaters (28%) and buyers (27%) in an average four weeks. Other favoured boxed chocolate brands are Lindt, Ferrero Rocher and Cadbury Roses.how sweet is my chocolate?

“It is vital for chocolate marketers wishing to maximise their seasonal sales to understand the preferences, shopping attitudes and demographics of different Australian consumers, so as to target those most likely to be receptive to their particular brand.”

None of these particular products listed by Mr Smith
are slavery-free chocolates.
However, many of the big chocolate producers have promised 100% of their chocolate products will be sustainably sourced by 2020.

What has been achieved?

In the past decade a great deal has changed on our supermarket shelves. Some big successes are:

  • Cadbury dairy milk chocolate bars made in Australia have been certified Fairtrade.
  • All Mars bars made in Australia are now certified RAINFOREST ALLIANCE
  • All Nestle chocolate made in Australia and New Zealand is now UTZ certified.
  • Haighs source 70% of their cocoa from UTZ certified farms. Their Easter range is 100% certified.
  • ALDI stocked a wide range of UTZ certified Easter chocolate in 2016.

For more information about slavery-free chocolate landmarks, the slavery-free certification program, the need for a living wage for cocoa farmers and the treatment of children in chocolate production, read the report on our ACRATH web: A Matter of Taste

Ask the question – what can I do to ensure my chocolate is made without the use of forced or enslaved child labour?fair-trade-logos

Once you know how your chocolate is produced, you can never again say, “I didn’t know”.

  • Buy and eat only slavery-free chocolate. To buy slavery-free Easter chocolate look for any of these certification labels on the wrappers: FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ.
  • If your school runs Christmas, Mother’s Day or Easter raffles or fundraisers use only slavery-free products. Make a stand as a school community.
  • Talk about slavery-free chocolate
    Tell five friends or family members about slavery-free chocolate

A Classroom Activity (as individuals or in small groups)

  • Pick your favourite chocolate.
  • Find out if it is slavery-free chocolate.
  • If it is not slavery free chocolate, then write to the manufacturer i.e. Lindt, Cadbury etc and ask them when they plan to make the product using cocoa beans from farms that have one of the three certifications and is therefore slavery free.
  • If your favourite chocolate is slavery-free and bears one of these three certification labels,  write to the manufacturer and congratulate them on what they are doing towards the reduction of child slavery in West Africa.
  • Visit your local supermarket or café (if they stock chocolate) and ask them to commit to doubling the amount of slavery-free chocolate they stock for Easter 2017.
  • OR you may like to print off this flier (produced by ACRATH Western Australia) and take it to the supermarket
    ‘Dear Manager…Slavery free chocolate resource’
  • Commit to joining ACRATH’s 2017 slavery-free Easter chocolate campaign. Contact rap@acrath.org.au and you will receive material in early 2017.
  • As a school consider incorporating human trafficking into your curriculum using ACRATH’s education resources at:http://acrath.org.au/education-resource/

You can make a difference to the world, and to the lives of these exploited children by buying only slavery-free chocolate.

You can also use your power as a consumer to influence what products shops and supermarkets decide to stock.