It’s about chocolate.
I love chocolate!
That sums it up really, I could leave it there but I won’t because ‘I love Chocolate’ comes with a few problems.
In one week we will be exchanging chocolate in all its glorious forms: eggs, bunnies, shells (my favourite), Bilbies, Wombats (its true) and of course my childhood favourite Humpty Dumpty. I used to love the sound Humpty Dumpty made when I shook it, the crick, crack of the goodies inside the cardboard wall holding the egg was a whole lot of ‘I love chocolate’! Anyway the list goes on and on and on. But when you are choosing your chocolates which ever shape or size you choose do you ever consider where the chocolate comes from?
There has been some coverage in the press in recent years (although you have to look pretty hard) informing consumers about ethically sourced produce in third world food production. The following three certifiers provide an assurance that the product has been made with child-labour free:
For example there is ‘Fairtrade’:
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
There is also ‘UTZ Certification’:
When you buy UTZ Certified coffee, cocoa or tea you are helping build a better future.
UTZ Certified stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment.
Through the UTZ-program farmers grow better crops, generate more income and create better opportunities while safeguarding the environment and securing the earth’s natural resources. Now and in the future
And finally ‘Rainforest Alliance’:
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour.
Although Fairtrade and a few other certifying bodies are working on delivering a better deal for farmers, there are still far too many areas in the world where children are being forced to work long hours in appalling conditions for little money. Think about it, if a child is working long hours chances are they won’t have the energy to do school work or they won’t be attending school at all.
‘Happy’ chocolate, as I like to call it, is certified ‘Fairtrade’ or ‘UTZ Certified’ or ‘Rainforest Alliance’. This means that the company (whomever they are), large or small, has decided that the chain of production for their product or products will not involve child labour. Product or products you ask… well, one company can provide just one product in their endless range that is certified child-labour free. So, just because a company produces one certified product, this does not mean that all of their products are certified child-labour free – you have to check that the product is marked with a certifier’s logo on the packaging.
For the last few years I have been making a delicious rocky road for Easter and while I always made sure I was purchasing Fairtrade eggs and other goodies, the chocolate I purchased to make the rockyroad was not certified child-labour free. This year however is different, it will be certified child-labour free all the way.
During my research to find ethically sourced cooking chocolate (which is proving to be quite difficult) I discovered that since February 19th 2013 all Nestle chocolate confectionary products available for purchase in Australia will be UTZ certified*. Congratulations to Nestle for making that important and ethical decision to support third word development and food production. However… (Oh dear!) I find the term ‘confectionary products’ a little ambiguous. I want to know whether this includes their range of cooking chocolate and drinking chocolate? I am awaiting Nestle’s response to this query, which I hope to receive in the next few days so that ‘Serendipty’s’ rocky road production can begin.
Here are a few interesting links to help inform and guide you in your chocolate purchasing. But remember, don’t just choose ethically sourced chocolate at Easter, choose it whenever you are purchasing chocolate products.
Let all of the chocolate companies know that child labour is not acceptable anywhere and do it by puchasing ethicaly. Tell your favourite chocolate brand that enough is enough and look for the following logos on chocolate and other products:
Until next time, have a happy, safe and child-labour free Easter,
p.s. The good news is that I did receive a response from Nestle. Unfortunately is was via a voice message so I don’t have a written response. However, it is as I expected, their cooking chocolate is not ethically produced nor will it be in the near future. Apparently there isn’t a demand for it! So there you go!!
On a positive note I did make my rocky road. I used blocks of Fairtrade eating chocolate, bought vegan marshmallows and other bits and pieces and put it all together. Because of the chocolate I used it was super sweet and with the added cost of the marshmellow, expensive. Oh well!