How Sweet is My Chocolate?


“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.