How to Change the World with Chocolate
It is a little-known but distressing fact that much conventionally-produced chocolate utilises child labour. This Easter, you can help to change that.
There is a painful truth about chocolate that most chocolate lovers don’t know. Dirt-cheap chocolate prices are only possible because children as young as six are trafficked and forced to work on cacao plantations. According to the 2018 Cocoa Barometer, there are as many as two million child labourers in West Africa alone, many of whom were kidnapped and forced into the servitude of the chocolate industry. Smugglers are paid to traffic children from countries like Mali and Guinea into the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Algeria.
How on earth does modern slavery exist in 2023? The problem arises with the chocolate supply chain. This chain starts with millions of farmers who produce cocoa and ends with the consumers who enjoy chocolate.
But what about the bit in between? This section is dominated by a handful of chocolate giants that profit from keeping the cocoa purchasing price as low as possible. As a result, farmers are forced to live in poverty, leading to child labour and slavery.
Now, there is nothing wrong with companies making a profit – they would go broke without it. However, when profit is the result of exploitation at the beginning of the supply chain, where people live in extreme poverty, that is not right.
The cocoa supply chain is shaped like an hourglass. At one end, there are the farmers who produce the cocoa; in the middle, there are a few multinationals, and at the other end, there are billions of consumers who eat the chocolate. The bit in the middle is where it goes wrong.
Big chocolate companies keep the price they pay farmers inhumanely low, so they are caught in a poverty trap which leads directly to child labour and modern slavery.
Farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast only receive the fixed farm gate price per kilo set by their governments, and are rarely encouraged to operate more professionally and improve the quality of their crop.
The fact that farmers do not receive more than the farm gate price for their cocoa is not the only problem. Many farmers produce only 30-40 percent of what they could, because they do not have the knowledge or equipment they need to improve productivity. Old trees produce fewer beans, but the farmers can't afford new ones. And even if they run their farms more professionally, they still are just not paid enough for their cocoa.
Learn how to make one of our favourite Chocolate Mousse Recipes from Nourish in 5 by Amy Lee
A protein-packed chocolate tart with a secret superfood ingredient: tofu! Don’t worry, you won’t taste it - the ingredients will transform into a rich, velvety mousse that tastes naughty (but isn’t!) You can buy your own base if you don’t want to make your own; however this base only has three ingredients, and it is ridiculously easy to make.
- 2 cups (250 g) walnuts
- 1 heaping cup (approximately 16) dates*, pitted
- ¼ cup Organic Road Raw Cacao Powder
- 1 block (90 g) Sugar-free Dark Chocolate**, melted
- 1 can Organic Road Coconut Cream, frozen for - 1 hour
- 1 packet (400 g) Silken Tofu
- ½ cup Organic Road Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Pomegranate seeds
To make the base, pulse the walnuts and cacao into flour in a food processor. Add the dates and process until the mixture sticks together. Press into a tart pan or cake tin.
To make the mousse, blend all the mousse ingredients, pour into the base and freeze for 1-2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.
Top with pomegranate seeds to serve.
* Soak dates in boiling water for 10 minutes if they are dry.
** Swap for dairy-free chocolate if you want the tart to be vegan.
Go Vita Loves...
Loving Earth This Melbourne-based company makes plant-based chocolate, using the highest quality Peruvian cacao beans which have been regeneratively grown in the Amazon by the Kemito Ene co-operative of Peru. This indigenous community grows their crop as they have for generations, using traditional methods to protect and regenerate hectares of forest. Loving Earth has been working with the Kemito Ene for over a decade, watching them go from strength to strength with each harvest.
For the Kemito Ene, the cacao harvest is a culturally sensitive source of income, native to the area. It means the co-operative does not need money from loggers or coca (cocaine) growers, which are two of the main sources of destruction of the forest. Loving Earth does not use cacao grown through child slavery. Degrading practices like these are just another reason to make sure you know what kind of world you are supporting with your dollar.
Tony’s Chocolonely Right now illegal child labour and slavery exist on cocoa farms in West Africa, a direct result of the unequally divided cocoa chain. Tony’s Chocolonely aims to change that, with 100 percent modern slavery-free chocolate – not just for their brand, but for all chocolate worldwide – via their unique sourcing plan.
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