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Is Your Chocolate Promoting Child Labor?

Meghan French Dunbar April 4, 2015
1.8 MILLION The estimated number of children who work in chocolate production in West Africa (Ivory Coast and Ghana), which supplies more than two-thirds of the world’s chocolate. >5% The average cocoa farmer receives less than five percent of the price of a chocolate bar. >$2 The average cocoa farmer in West Africa makes less than $2 per day. 10,000 The estimated number of child laborers in chocolate production who are victims of some form of slavery. 30% Mars, Nestlé, and Mondelez collectively purchase more than 30 percent of the world’s cocoa.

1.8 MILLION

The estimated number of children who work in chocolate production in West Africa (Ivory Coast and Ghana), which supplies more than two-thirds of the world’s chocolate.1

>5%

The average cocoa farmer receives less than five percent of the price of a chocolate bar.2

>$2

The average cocoa farmer in West Africa makes less than $2 per day.2

10,000

The estimated number of child laborers in chocolate production who are victims of some form of slavery.3

30%

Mars, Nestlé, and Mondelez collectively purchase more than 30 percent of the world’s cocoa.2
1“Oversight of Public and Private Initiatives to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana,” Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer, Tulane University.

2 “Women and the Big Business of Chocolate,” Oxfam.

3 US Department of State.

THE TAKEAWAY

A+ Equal Exchange, Divine, AlterEco, SweetRiot, Theozel o Divine; A Shaman, Sjaak’s, Coco-Zen, Endangered Species, Rapunzel; A- Lake Champlain; B+ AH!LASKA, Terra Nostra, Cloud Nine, Tropical Source, Sunspire; B Green & Black’s, Newman’s Own, Dagoba; C+ Chocolove, Lindt, Ghirardelli; C Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, Droste, Russell Stover, Whitman’s, Ritter; C- Godiva; D Hershey's ScharffenBerger; D- Swiss Miss; F Nestlé, Perugina, Toblerone, M&M Mars, Ovaltine, Cadbury, Dove

The availability of organic, fair trade, and ethically sourced chocolate is exploding. While you still may have to look a little harder, you should be able to find alternatives to your favorite chocolate-based snacks that will allow you to feel good about what you’re purchasing and make a significant difference for others. Your best bet is to avoid most of the large chocolate producers as their records around both social and environmental issues remain troubling.

For more information on companies, brands, and how they rank based on the latest data we have available, visit www.betterworldshopper.org, download the Better World Shopper app for iPhones, or pick up a copy of The Better World Shopping Guide (4th edition) at your local independent bookstore.

Climate Action / Leadership
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