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

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 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 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 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?

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

  • Buying products displaying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certification logos on the wrapper means you are purchasing from companies working to eliminate slavery in the cocoa industry.
  • If your school runs Christmas, Mother’s Day or Easter raffles or fundraisers use only products displaying Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certification. Make a stand as a school community.
  • Talk about slavery in the cocoa industry.
  • Encourage your family or friends to purchase chocolate displaying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade logo.

A Classroom Activity (as individuals or in small groups)

  • Pick your favourite chocolate.
  • Find out if it displays the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade logo.
  • If it is not displaying one of these logos write to the manufacturer. Ask them if they have plans in place to source cocoa beans from farms certified by Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.
  • If your favourite chocolate carries one of the two 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 certified chocolate they stock for Easter 2022.
  • Commit to joining ACRATH’s 2022 slavery-free Easter chocolate campaign.
  • As a school consider incorporating human trafficking into your curriculum using ACRATH’s education resources at:

You can make a difference to the world, and to the lives of 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.

Thank you for all you are doing to eliminate slavery in chocolate production.

Slavery-Free Easter

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.

Australians will purchase over $200 million in chocolate this Easter. A 2018 report by IBISWorld found that Australia’s chocolate spend had risen by $26 million over the previous five years (up to 2018).

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.

Chocolate and Child Labour – A Snapshot

  • A 2020 Macquarie University report, Not so sweet: chocolate, slavery and complicit corporationsfound 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.

Change is happening – join in ACRATH’s Slavery-free Easter Chocolate Campaign

The ILO found that in the last 20 years almost 100 million children have been removed from child labour, bringing numbers down from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2021.

Name your change for 2022. Will you:

  • Commit to buying only chocolate carrying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certification logo. Companies sourcing cocoa certified by Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade are working towards the elimination of slavery in the cocoa industry.
  • Tell at least five other people about slavery in the cocoa industry and encourage them to buy products displaying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade logo. They will discover how delicious it tastes.
  • Display the ACRATH poster in your school, parish, workplace or home.
  • Make a donation to support the work of ACRATH. Donations can be made online at Other methods of donating can be found here.
  • When holding a fundraising chocolate raffle for your school or workplace, use only chocolate displaying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certification logo.

Follow the lead of John XXIII College at Mount Claremont in WA. They use every opportunity to spread the word about slavery in the cocoa industry. Prior to Easter they hold 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.

Where to buy chocolate that is certified slavery-free

Look for products displaying one of the two logos illustrated below.



Buying products displaying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certification logos on the wrapper means you are purchasing from companies working to eliminate slavery in the cocoa industry.

Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand has a list of certified chocolates. Find it at:

Chocolate Scorecard 2022

With the Easter egg season upon us, researchers have rated the social and environmental impact of the companies that control global cocoa production. The annual Chocolate Scorecard study, surveyed 38 of the world’s largest chocolate companies, including chocolate traders, processors and manufacturers.

These account for 80-90% of global chocolate products, Easter eggs among them, and include giants such as Mars, Lindt, Nestlé, Mondelez (Cadbury), Ferrero and Hershey’s.

Some comapies are rising to the challenge, but others continue to ignore consumer demand for chocolate that’s free of child labour, poverty, deforestation and is good for people and the planet. For more information visit the Chocolate Scorecard 2022 website.


Please use any of the readings or resources provided on this page, including a poster and bulletin notices for schools, workplaces or Churches.

  • 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:

For more information contact:

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