‘Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral, and not simply an economic, act’, Pope Francis said last year. This ‘awareness’ is never more relevant than when buying chocolate writes Rosie Hoban from Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH).
As consumers we have lots of chocolate choices, but the most compelling choice is whether we buy chocolate that is slavery-free or not. The flavours and brands are less important.
This Easter, Australians will spend almost $2 billion on chocolate. That’s a staggering amount. Much of the chocolate is produced using cocoa beans picked by children in West Africa. The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) estimates that there are about 1.5 million children working in the cocoa sector in West Africa, many of whom have been enslaved, or forced to work in exploitative conditions.
What can we do so far away from West Africa? We can use the money we spend on chocolate this Easter to change the world gradually by purchasing only slavery-free chocolate.
Slavery-free chocolate carries one of the three labels featured in the image on the left: FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified. This shows that the cocoa beans used in the chocolate’s production have been sourced ethically, from farmers who engage in good labour practices.
Christine Carolan, the Executive Officer of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans), said buying slavery-free chocolate at Easter gives people the opportunity to take a stand against human trafficking and slavery.
‘A decade ago there was almost no slavery-free chocolate sold in Australia. The global movement, led by many groups in Australia, including ACRATH, has seen a dramatic increase in the availability of slavery -free chocolate, and other products, for consumers.’
Many supermarkets in Australia are selling slavery-free chocolate this Easter and great gains have been made in recent years, including:
- Cadbury dairy milk blocks and bars made in Australia are FAIRTRADE
- All Mars bars made in Australia are now Rainforest Alliance
- All Nestle chocolate made in Australia and NZ is now UTZ certified
- Aldi supermarkets have a wide variety of UTZ certified Easter chocolate, and
- Haigh’s Easter range of chocolates are all UTZ certified.
So next time you are browsing for chocolate, or making an impulse sugar-hit decision at the checkout, check the wrapper. If it isn’t slavery-free then swap it for one that is.
Make an effort to share your decision with at least five people this Easter. Encourage your friends to buy slavery-free chocolate.
To find out more about the campaign and slavery free chocolate please visit: www.acrath.org.au or phone 0431 471 046.