Sunday, September 30, 2007

William Wilberforce's Job Not Finished

I'm sure that a fair few of you have seen the film "Amazing Grace" about William Wilberforce and his fight to make slavery abolished in Great Britain.

Well, it has come to my attention that in our world today there are still slaves and slave trading. I was shocked when I first heard about it and in denial! Anyway, it seems from my passive (I was in denial!) research that this is quite true. Most disturbing is the way that as a Western consumer of CHOCOLATE I am probably consuming on a regular basis chocolate that has been made from cocoa beans grown on the Ivory Coast of Africa where 10,000+ child slaves work on cocoa plantations under less than ideal circumstances.

I know that there are tons and tons of causes and things to jump up and down and get worked up over but for me this one is disturbing me at the moment and I have decided that from hereon I will make every effort to consume cocoa & chocolate that is most definitely-without a doubt fair-trade. So far that seems to limit me to consuming the following brands: (Note that most of these are NOT the common chocolate brands widely available throughout Australia.)

Green and Blacks - This is chocolate that is both organic and slave free. Having said that, this brand is owned by Cadbury's who are NOT slave-free.

Abundant Earth

Cocola(Australian company available in Coles supermarkets)

Scarborough Fair Chocolate (NZ based company available in Coles in NSW & ACT)

And any other chocolate that has Australian Certified Organic accreditation. (There are heaps of accreditation systems but ACO requires that all ingredients in the product are produced in accordance with Internation Labour Laws (this includes no slavery in the production process).

For your own personal research you can start by checking out the following links:

Article that ran in THE AGE last week

Consumption Rebellion Blog (this is where I first heard of the chocolate and slavery link)

You Tube Video Made in the UK but still good--some disturbing images

Anyone know of any other fair-trade chocolate and cocoa brands availalbe in Australia?? Anyone else concerned about consuming slave made chocolate??


Kathryn - said...

Thanks Rachel, I really had NO idea that this was happening (ie in the context of chocolate). Thank you for informing us, I will do a little research re other suppliers. Kath :)

Rachel said...

It's a big crazy world out there. I got a reply back from Cadbury and they couldn't promise that their chocolate was slave-free (as I suspected) but they DO do a lot to help farmers and what not in Africa. I would say that if I had to choose between Hersheys & Cadbury I'd choose Cadbury for sure since they seem to genuinely care for the countries they work with. Also, apparently it is cultural to have families working together during harvest time so those children probably can't be classified as slaves'd be hard to differentiate between forced labour and family labour in some cases I'd guess. Anyway, interesting and sad topics. Luckily in Newtown there is an Organic Co-Op and I can purchase fairtrade cocoa for my cooking pretty easily.

Erin said...

Oh no, this is awful.
Since reading your post I haven't been able to eat chocolate. (though, that may be a good thing) There's so much misery hidden behind our western lifestyles, isn't there?
Besides slavery theres all the sweatshop labour which really isn't much better.
Thats why I love shops like Oxfam, I can shop without a guilty concious.