25th March 2010
Last night Panorama reported on the use of child labour on cocoa farms. Just when it seems that I have got my head around how I can attempt to minimise my own contributing effects to how we exploit and ravage our planet in one way, a new tragedy is brought to my attention.
As we noted on our Chocolate page we were led to believe that by choosing Fairtrade brands we could withdraw support of this archaic work ethic. The countries in which cocoa is grown are also poorer countries where often families have no choice but to send their children to work; however like all children they deserve the right to an education and not be subjected to the ‘worst forms’ of child labour. Sadly from what I have read I get the impression that children not having to work full stop is not an option. Panaroma reporter Paul Kenyon revealed that child trafficking is also rife in this industry and the Fairtrade label is no guarantee that associated companies are not unknowingly allowing it to continue.
Large companies Cadburys and Nestle were mentioned extensively in the programme, fortunately for the vegan population these brands are not an option anyway. I contacted the preferably smaller companies we currently have listed on our Chocolate page with regards to their sourcing policies and have had some hopeful feedback; there are companies out there that care about where their ingredients come from. We will highlight those companies that have given us some assurance that they are comfortable with work ethics of those they source their ingredients from. Other companies will remain as we still feel it is everyone’s right to decide, given all information, who they choose to buy from.