WORDS Karina Marlow (Animal Liberation @ Macquarie University)
Nothing satisfies those Easter cravings like chocolate. So it’s no surprise that last year it was expected that Australians spent $176.5 million on it. But the cheap chocolate that you’re buying could be inadvertently leaving cocoa workers short-changed.
Over 70 per cent of the world’s chocolate is sourced from West Africa where many impoverished workers do not receive a fair wage for their labour impacting upon their ability to provide for their family’s needs including food, basic healthcare and education.
According to the International Labour Organisation, of the 215 million children involved in child labour 60 per cent are in agriculture. Disturbingly, in the cocoa industry there have been widespread reports of child slavery. Many of these children have been forced to work to support their family instead of attending school, locking them in a vicious cycle of poverty.
These days ethical chocolate is increasingly accessible with six per cent of the chocolate bought last year coming from Fair Trade certificated companies. These products are available online and in local supermarkets, and they do not cost much more than their competition. To find these brands look for the Fair Trade logo or check out: http://www.fairtrade.com.au/news/easter-celebrate-fairtrade-chocolate.
So don’t let the chocolate you buy this Easter leave a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when for a couple of extra cents you could ensure that cocoa workers get the money they deserve and the support they need for a more sustainable future.