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
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 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 has some great resources OR don'


Tenos said...

See Here or Here

anthony n castle said...

Your dead right Danielle. Corporations rarely answer to any group or government. They answer solely to one person, the consumer. They answer to us.

Without our $$$, corporations are just expensive suits and empty factories. Corporations may be money making machines, but we fuel them and we have the power to dismantle or rebuild them.


jsi said...

Your right - Corporations answering for where their profits were made, and the condition of the life they inflict, its not easy but it must be required.
Its not much of a committment to reform when compared to the level of profit which is created.

I am praying for your strength of purpose and focus of message when you are found within these meetings.

Jenea Gomez said...

I went over to 10,000 villages the other day to see how much I will be spending on chocolate for a party this easter. YIKES! - steep, but worth MY money...
Happy Woman's Day - I'm glad your alive.

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