Make sure chocolate doesn’t hurt children
- Canadians consume an average of 5.5 kg of chocolate per person each year, the equivalent of eating nearly 2,600 M&M’s.
- Approximately 95 percent of chocolate sold today is not certified to be free from the use of forced, child or trafficked labour.
- An estimated 1.8 million children work on cocoa-related activities in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. Some of these children are trafficked from Mali or Burkina Faso.
That may not be what you wanted to know about a favourite treat! Well, you can do something about it.
For the next year, World Vision’s Help Wanted: End Child Slavery campaign will focus on encouraging Canadian companies to commit to sourcing ethical cocoa for all of their products by 2020. Sadly, more than 2 million children are involved in cocoa farming and harvesting. Their work may involve:
- Carrying heavy loads and working in extreme heat.
- Using machetes to clear the land and harvest and open the pods, risking severe injuries to hands, arms and legs.
- Being exposed to harmful chemicals when preparing, applying or being near pesticides.
- Working very long hours with little pay, very poor nutrition and limited or no access to health care.
- Experiencing violence or abuse at the hands of employers or others in the industry.
To reduce the number of children working 3D (dirty, dangerous and degrading) jobs in the cocoa industry, it’s essential for corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations, farmers and individual consumers to act together. Making sure that every chocolate treat is made with ethical cocoa must be everyone’s goal.
The good news is that action is being taken to reach this goal.
- Several large chocolate companies such as Mars, Nestle, Fererro, and Lindt have said publicly that they will use only ethical cocoa by 2020 for all of their products.
- In Australia, our World Vision colleagues have been part of actions to ensure that well-known chocolate treats, such as the Cadbury Easter Egg (Australian version), are made from ethical cocoa
- World Vision Ghana has been part of activities led by Cadbury, along with other non-government organizations and the government of Ghana, to help children involved in unsafe work on cocoa farms and get the education and support they need to become healthy adults.
This is good news! But we need to get more consumers and companies on board to achieve the goal of ethical cocoa by 2020 – from the smallest local chocolatier to the biggest companies. World Vision will be communicating with Canadian chocolate manufacturers and importers to learn about what they are doing to reach this goal. Here are four actions you can take to be part of the solution to ending child slavery in the cocoa industry.
- Buy ethical cocoa products. Download this Good Chocolate Guide.
- There’s an APP FOR THAT! A Canadian group has created an app to help you find the best chocolate in town. Find out where to get the app and help add to it.
- Help us all learn more by being a researcher for us. WV head office is asking Canadian chocolate manufacturers like Ganong, Purdy’s and Laura Secord whether they source ethical cocoa for their products and if not now, when will they. We will share this information through a Canadian chocolate report card. You can be part of this work too by asking your local chocolatier whether they source ethical cocoa or leave this pamphlet behind for them to read and respond to.
- Find out more by reading this Cocoa and Child Labour Information Sheet.
- Encourage your family and friends to buy ethical cocoa.