Thursday, March 6, 2008
Cocoa and the chocolate factories...
Met with the confectionary manufacturer's association of Australasia the other day. Those are the folks that represent the major chocolate companies in the region. Very interesting meeting and dialogue can't be a bad thing...
As you can imagine I was interested in their commitment to reforming the Ivory Coast child slavery issue. 70% of all cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast where child slavery (and trafficking) is a huge issue. They admitted the problem was fierce and the solutions very complex and assured me that all the 'majors' were very committed to making change.... so I asked for some measure of their commitment. I mean, we all need to know in any relationship how committed we are! They said, 'very'. So, I asked a reasonable question:
The global chocolate industry makes $44billion (US) dollars a year
They have designated $4million (US) dollars a year to the Ivory Coast reform
DOES THAT SOUND LIKE MUCH OF A COMMITMENT????????
the global chocolate industry making $44BILLION and giving $4MILLION back.
If that's commitment I'm not interested in a relationship - you know what I mean?
Anyway, that may not be the final figures... that's the record so far (and hey - it's only been five or so years - so a lot could change - and it's only 12,000 child SLAVES that we can find - so it could be worse!!!!). Wow. This stuff is incredible.
Last night I watched the documentary The Corporation - well worth a rent and a watch!
I think industry should have to answer to someone. Ideally, government but at the very least consumers. let's talk to them this Easter by refusing to buy unethical chocolate and BUYING COPIOUS amounts of fairly traded chocolate.
check out organictrader.com.au for a link to some yummy fairtrade chocolate
or chocolatier in Melbourne (with some GREAT sales on right now for fairtrade chocolate)
CHECK OUT JUSTSALVOS.COM for more details.
OR stopthetraffik.org has some great resources OR don'ttradelives.com.au