Chocolate: Delectable, sumptuous, and often one of the many culprits in one’s list of guilty pleasures.
The bittersweet taste of a bar, melting in your mouth and just swirling around your tongue… not to mention its numerous health benefits (when taken in moderation), it is no wonder that chocolate manufacturers find themselves swimming in tremendous wealth!
However, the true cost of the little package-wrapped goodie on the shelf remains unknown to many. Behind the glitz of delicious treats and golden tickets, is the dark viciousness of cheap labour, child slavery, and other atrocities.
The Darkness of the Cocoa Industry
On cocoa farms across West Africa, over 2 million children toil away their childhood, earning a salary of less than a dollar a day.
Majority are sent to farms due to poverty – families that cannot afford to send their children to school, and are instead contributing to the household’s income. And even so, it is often still not enough for adequate living standards and overall well-being.
Well-known brands, such as Nestle, Cadbury, Lindt, and more, are often unable to account for all their cocoa sources. As awareness of this issue grows, more schemes such as the Cocoa Life Sustainability Programme are being put in place to ensure cocoa is ethically-sourced and unfair labour is minimised. However, there is still much to be done.
How can we consume ethically and sustainably?
Ethical and sustainable consumption means supporting companies that show accountability for the environment and to their workers, treating them fairly and operating unequivocally. Here are some tips and brands we recommend looking out for on your grocery trip!
Checking for certifications on your product (cocoa, or otherwise) is a great way to ensure that the manufacturer is ethical and sustainable in production!
Here are a few that we recommend looking out for:
The International Fairtrade Certification ensures that:
- All farmers are paid a fair price for their products, including cocoa farms. This prevents the propagation of underpaid labour and modern-day slavery.
The Rainforest Alliance Certification maintains that all farms practice sustainability by:
- Conserving the biodiversity in the environment
- Practising fair labour
- Improving the livelihoods and well-being of workers
- Protecting the local communities
The UTZ Cocoa certification makes certain that:
- Non-agricultural land, forests, and national parks are preserved
- Farmers are better able to tackle climate change
- Better agricultural practices
- Water is managed to be more accessible and available.
Brands We Love
Not only are their chocolates sustainable and ethical, they’re also sold with a wrapping that details their story and efforts to cultivate a sustainable cocoa industry! It’s the perfect gift piece to inform anyone about this widely-ignored issue. Available in 8 exquisite flavours, they’re definitely one of the brands that stand out in this movement! And simply look at the cuteness of the quirky shapes on the bar!
One of my personal favourites would be their sea salt flavour, as it adds that pleasant tinge of savouriness to the already-wonderful product.
Tony’s Chocolonely is available on the German Marketplace.
Tesco is a well-known brand in the market for lots of food products, including chocolates. Those looking for a more affordable option may opt for Tesco’s Everyday Chocolate Bar ($1.95 on the website, $1 during sales in-store!). It’s an incredible price that accounts for ethical production, without holding back on size and rich milk-chocolate taste! It’s even cheaper than some other less-sustainable brands, for the same bar sizing (if not more).
Tesco is available in Fairprice.
Brookside is great for anyone looking to add some fruity or nutty taste to their chocolate. Although slightly pricier ($5-$8.95) compared to Tesco’s, it’s quality is impeccable and contains a decent amount that I find truly worth it! Moreover, its packaging is completely resealable, making it fantastic for carrying around in your bag on-the-go as a snack.
I absolutely adore their blueberry acai flavour. It’s a little ball of blueberry acai encased in chocolate, creating the perfect wrapping of milky sweetness and light after-taste of fruity sourness!
Brookside is available in Fairprice, Cold Storage, and Choc Spot.
I hope that with this, we can all indulge ourselves without compromising on ethicality and sustainability!
Let’s all eat good chocolate.