Australia-based Be Slavery Free is urging Australian consumers to make a difference this Easter and buy chocolate eggs from companies that are addressing human rights and environmental concerns.
Be Slavery Free has joined forces with USA based Mighty Earth and Green America to publish an Easter scorecard, analysing 13 major chocolate companies and eight cocoa suppliers against criteria including child labour practice, sustainability and living income for farmers.
“The best performer, awarded the ‘Golden Egg’ from Australia is New Zealand owned company Whittaker’s,” said Fuzz Kitto, National Co-Director of Be Slavery Free.
“Tony’s Chocolonely (a Dutch company whose products are not available in Australia) received the US, EU and UK Golden Egg for its intentional efforts to reshape the industry.”
“Chocolate maker, Godiva, was given ‘Rotten Egg Award’ for lack of responsibility by the company in all areas which are considered best practices in protecting the environment, ending child labour and moving towards a living income for farmers.”
An estimated 2.1 million children are in child labour in cocoa, almost all found to endure hazardous conditions and a form on modern slavery, according to researchers at Tulane University and as defined under the Australian Modern Slavery Act.
“Australians typically spend more than A$200 million on chocolate over Easter. Only 6 per cent goes to the farmers living in poverty,” said Mr Kitto.
“No parent or grandparent wants to give their children chocolate which other children suffered in the making of. We urge consumers to make a difference by buying from companies that are trying to do the right thing.”
“It’s 20 years since the world’s chocolate manufacturers agreed to be slave free but the pace of change has been too slow,” said Mr Kitto.
“Pledges made have been hollow. Nonetheless, what the new scorecard shows is that businesses are recognising that they cannot solve these issues alone.”
Seventy-five per cent of responding companies publicly support mandatory due diligence for the industry as is being introduced by the European Union and being discussed in the USA.
“Companies are also starting to address child labour with all but two companies now having a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System. This shift has been seen in the last five years.”