Make it Ethical has taken a mini sabbatical to support the incredible work of STOP THE TRAFFIK, in spreading the word that the cocoa in our chocolate this easter is likely to have been harvested using child labour and victims of human trafficking. This is an issue so dear to our heart that we couldn't resist taking on the challenge to run the very first Traffik-Free Chocolate Campaign in New Zealand.
So what's happening in the cocoa industry?
Recent estimates by Barry Callebaut, one of the world's largest suppliers of cocoa from West Africa suggest that cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast are earning an income of US $0.91 per farmer per day! It is the desperate poverty of these farmers that provides the motivation to look for labour that is cheap. And the neighbouring nations of the Ivory Coast such as Burkina Faso provide a steady flow of workers and children, many of whom are poor and desperate for employment. These individuals are sent to the cocoa farms to bring money back into their communities. Unfortunately, true to the nature of human trafficking, willing workers and parents of children are often tricked into believing that they or their families will receive payment for their work, that children will attend school and this proves to be false. Workers and children labour in dangerous and exhaustive working conditions and minimal- if no money at all- is received by the worker or their families.
A study by the Global Living Wage Coalition suggests that cocoa farmers of the Ivory Coast require a living income of over $10 USD per farmer per day, this shows the dramatic difference in what they are currently receiving (US $0.91!) and what they require for basic living costs and to maintain their farms and employ fair labour. Experts suggest that an immediate first step is to increase the price paid to farmers for cocoa beans by 3 times the current value. That seems like a huge amount and we might think that this means that the price of our chocolate will triple, however you will be shocked to know that at the counter this means only 13cents more per 100g of chocolate for Kiwis! There is no doubt in my mind that I would pay 33 cents more for a 250g block of chocolate if I knew that the farmer was being paid fairly!
So what can you do to help? And how can we get our 33 cents to the farmers that grow our cocoa beans?
STOP THE TRAFFIK are asking us to donate the difference. If the cost of paying farmers a living wage is 13 cents per 100g, taking into consideration that the average kiwi consumer enjoys 50 kilograms of chocolate per year, then that totals to $65 NZD. STOP THE TRAFFIK are asking Kiwis to donate this $65 and with your donation they will campaign the largest chocolate makers and chocolate producers to raise farmers incomes.
There are other neat ways that you can be involved such as by finding certified easter products and by jumping onto the campaign website to geotag the location of the store where they are spotted. That way we can all figure out the best spots to buy certified chocolate this easter. Or you could order postcards to be delivered by STOP THE TRAFFIK to the big chocolate companies as one united front requesting a living income for cocoa farmers.
We know that poverty and exploitation go hand in hand and it's time that we stand up for the children and adults who are exploited and voiceless in West Africa, so if you're keen to help make a difference head to the site to find out more www.traffikfreechocolate.co.nz