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Dark, dark chocolate from Ivory Coast

Just how green and fair are Nutella, Toblerone, Snickers, Bounty or Milka? It’s not long before you’ll be able to check – we’re planning to publish their rankings pretty soon. And it looks like we’re going to have more to feel guilty about than just a few stolen calories. Chocolate’s sweetness is only matched by the bitterness of reality on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast, where children are systematically exploited as slaves. Pinch yourself in the arm – it really is happening, right now, in the year 2011. In the last few days, CNN has picked up on the issue and featured an interview with our (constantly telephoning) office buddy @antonie, from StoptheTraffik’s international 10Campaign for chocolate that is free of slavery.

Banana republic

Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest exporter of cocoa. And it is a typical banana republic: politically instable, corrupt, and rich in commodities. The country exports container after container stuffed with cocoa beans – ready for turning into those chocolate bars we so enjoy eating.Yet Ivory Coast doesn’t have enough food to feed itself. One in seven Ivorians goes hungry. What’s more, the problem of child slavory has been well known about for years. As long ago as 2001, the cocoa industry promised to improve its record by signing a significant protocol. In practice, however, this seems to be nothing more than a piece of paper. In the 10 years since, too little has changed, says the 10Campaign, and backed up by CNN’s report, which drew on images from the film ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate’

The Dark Side of Chocolate, by Miki Mistrati and U. Roberto Romani, documents the harsh reality lived by so many Ivorian child slaves

What can you do?

  • Sign up to support the 10Campaign
  • Stop buying chocolate produced by child slaves
  • Look out for Utz and Max Havelaar certified products – such as Ruijter and verkade
  • Read the remarkable history of chocolate brand Tony Chocolonely
  • Follow us on Facebook or Twitter – and be the first to hear when our chocolate rankings go online

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One Comment

  1. Posted 09/10/2011 at 20:00 | Permalink

    Very good data. Lucky me I reach on your web site by accident, I bookmarked it.