A Bar of Slave-Free Chocolate
Tony’s Chocolonely is one of the new bars of slave-free chocolate. So you knew that we should buy Fair Trade chocolate to support farmers, right? But did you know that a lot of the cocoa is literally grown by slaves (people who receive no income at all?) Although this company does sell some milk bars, we link above to the vegan chocolate bars, so animals are not used either to produce chocolate. Choose from dark chocolate or dark almond sea salt.
Keep chocolate away from pets (including white chocolate, as it’s too high in fat). Be careful as many chocolate bars are also sweetened with xylitol which is lethal to pets, and some contain dried fruit or nuts – all of which are also tempting but toxic to our furry friends.
Chocolate is one of the world’s most popular snacks, and of course is made from cocoa beans. But these grow in some of the poorest areas on earth, and most of the chocolate bought in the UK is from the big brands. Most cocoa is produced in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and the average cocoa farmer earns less than is needed to live and support a family – not even in Africa. As a result, many children work under illegal conditions, because their parents are not earning enough. And yet the big chocolate companies earn millions. It is thought that around 30,000 people live as ‘modern slaves’ not earning a dime.
The big multi-national chocolate companies buy their cocoa from a big supplier, rather than direct from Fair Trade suppliers, so have no way of knowing how well the workers are being paid or treated. And when the market price of cocoa dropped recently, the farmers were negatively impacted even more. A good chocolate company will also note that they have traceable beans and they also won’t be cheap, because the farmers who grow the beans, are getting a fair deal.
This company was founded by a Dutch journalist who went to the big chocolate companies to ask about what was happening. When they ignored him, he set up his own chocolate company to give customers a choice of buying Fair Trade chocolate. He called his company ‘Chocolonely’ as he felt a lone voice, campaigning for Africans to be freed from slavery.
Many of the bigger companies have surprised Fair Trade charities by moving away from sourcing to set up their own cocoa sourcing. Of course they have all issued statements on how their scheme will benefit small farmers more. But considering the farmers are still being paid peanuts while the big chocolate companies rake in millions, it’s not very convincing, is it? Former child slaves are actually taking three big chocolate companies to court.
Tony’s fast-growing chocolate company employs almost 9000 farmers who all earn a living income and earn enough for their whole family. The cocoa is bought per season and they also get a premium on top, plus agricultural training courses, and nurseries for new cocoa trees. More than 9.2% of the retail price goes to the cocoa farmers. Most cocoa farmers get from 3% to 6%.
Tony recently launched 4 ‘lookalike’ bars to highlight the issues (with all profits going to support women escaping from slavery). They were due to appear in supermarkets and mysteriously disappeared off the shelves within days.