How Sweet is My Chocolate?
The sweet, but sometimes-bitter truth about Easter Chocolate
Chocolate is delicious and people around the world know it. Every Easter Australians spend millions of dollars buying hundreds of kilograms of chocolate to eat and give away.
In 2022, the revenue from chocolate confectionery Down Under amounted to AU$5.13 billion. Australians spent an average of AU$196.96 per capita on chocolate products. (Australian Chocolate Consumption Statistics for 2022)
But some of this chocolate is tainted by slavery and comes at the cost of a child’s health, education and sometimes his or her freedom. Much of our chocolate is made using cocoa beans harvested by children, often in the West African region. Many of these children are forced into labour. We can help change this.
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.
How to Join ACRATH's Easter Campaign and feel good about the chocolate you purchase and consume this Easter.
Look for Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance logos on your chocolate wrapper.Download the Be Slavery Free Chocolate Scorecard to find out what's really going into your chocolate and how your favourite brands rate.
Be an influencer and share your chocolate (online) by taking a selfie/or photo with your Easter chocolate (after checking its rating on the scorecard) then uploading the photo to your favourite social media platform with the following text:
"I'm a good Egg! I've joined ACRATH's Good Eagg Easter Campaign and have committed to buying only Easter chocolate from brands that commit to making slavery-free chocolate."
Join Us, Share your message, and don't forget to tag us or email us at email@example.com to be featured in our campaign on our social media. We will be publishing photos from schools, individuals and workplaces.
The Chocolate Scorecard
The 2023 Chocolate Scorecard is now available. Approximately 95% of the chocolate industry is captured by the Chocolate Scorecard. These account for 95% of global chocolate products, Easter eggs among them, and include giants such as Mars, Lindt, Nestlé, Mondelēz (Cadbury), Ferrero and Hershey. The 2023 edition of the Chocolate Scorecrad also ranks retailers.
The Scorecard rates companies from green (leading the industry on policy and practice) to black (lacking in transparency and zero participation) across six issue areas: traceability and transparency; living income; child and forced labor; deforestation and climate; agroforestry; and agrichemical management.
The Chocolate Scorecard is coordinated by Be Slavery Free, with universities, consultants and civil society groups engaging in transforming the chocolate industry.ACRATHisamemberoftheBeSlaveryFreeCoalition.
Use the Chocolate Scorecard to find out what's really going into the chocolate you buy. How does your favourite brand rank? Dowload your copy of the Chocolate Scorecrad here.
What Has Been Achieved
In the past decade a great deal has changed on our supermarket shelves. Some big successes are:
- All Mars bars made in Australia are Rainforest Alliance certified
- All Nestle chocolate made in Australia and New Zealand is now Rainforest Alliance certified.
- Haighs source much of their cocoa from Rainforest Alliance certified farms. Their Easter range is 100% certified.
For more information about slavery-free chocolate landmarks, the cocoa certification program, the need for a living wage for cocoa farmers and the treatment of children in chocolate production, read the A Matter of Taste report.
Chocolate and Child Labour – A Snapshot
- A 2020 Macquarie University report, Not so sweet: chocolate, slavery and complicit corporations, found that, “More than two million children under the age of 15 years old work in the cocoa industry in Ivory Coast and Ghana. Many are the children of farm labourers, but others are also sold to farms as bonded labourers from neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali”
- A 2021 report by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) found that 152 million children (64 million girls and 88 million boys) are involved in child labour – that’s almost one in 10 of all children worldwide
- Almost half of child labour happens in Africa (72 million children)
- Many of the children harvesting cocoa beans work in hazardous conditions. The 2020 NORC report states that among children living in agricultural households in cocoa growing areas 45 percent were engaged in child labor and 43 percent were engaged in hazardous child labor in cocoa production and 12% of children had to receive treatment in a hospital or health centre.
- COVID-19 has made children even more vulnerable. School closures have aggravated the situation and many millions of children are working to contribute to the family income.
Further Information and Resources
For the Classroom
- An activity for individuals or in small groups. As a school, consider incorporating human trafficking into your curriculum using ACRATH’s education resources at https://acrath.org.au/resources/teaching-kit/
- Follow the lead of John XXIII College at Mount Claremont in WA. They used every opportunity to spread the word about slavery in the cocoa industry. Prior to Easter they held a chocolate raffle which is promoted via posters around the college, newsletter notices and information offered at the college’s open day. Read their story here.
- ACRATH has developed notices for your parish, school or workplace bulletin. Find them here.
- Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools and ACRATH produced a kit to help you make your school, hospital or workplace work towards becoming slavery-free. It has lots of valuable information about chocolate and also tea and coffee. Find it at: https://resourcecem.com/slavery-free-resources/
Watch ACRATH’s Conversation looking at the issue of slavery in the cocoa industry and
how we can move towards a slavery-free Easter featuring Be Slavery Free Co-Directors Carolyn and Fuzz Kitto and Peter Millard, Supply chain Manager Haigh’s Chocolates, who shared their passion for a world free of slavery, and what we can do.
Read the inspiring article from WA and how ACRATH Coordinator Heather McNaught assisted in implementing a campaign in IGA stores across WA. All stores received the posters/flyers to put up near the ethical stock that was ordered.
Thank you for all you are doing to eliminate slavery in chocolate production. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org