Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chocolate: Making Sustainable and Responsible Choices

Did you know the U.S. is the number one consumer of chocolate (an estimated $13 billion a year) and that Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter generate the largest sales of chocolate products in the U.S.?

However, the story of chocolate is not so sweet. The media have been reporting on the problem of child labor and child slavery in the cocoa industry since the late 1990s (ABC, CBS, another CBS report, BBC, another BBC report, TIME magazine). There are also several organizations that work to raise awareness of this issue and seek solutions to the problem, including Global Exchange, LaborRights.org, International Labor Rights Forum, CorpWatch, and the World Cocoa Foundation.

In 2001, the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed which sought to eliminate child slavery and labor by 50% in the cocoa industry by July 2005. By 2005, limited progress had been made (see statement by Harkin & Engel) and an extension of the Protocol was granted to July 2008.

As Halloween approaches, businesses and consumers alike can make sustainable and responsible choices in purchasing chocolate products. One recommendation is Fair Trade or organic chocolate which can be purchased from a number of sources, such as Global Exchange, or search the directory at TransFair USA, or do an Internet search.

Just another example demonstrating the importance of sustainable and responsible business.

1 comment:

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

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