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Fair Trade Chocolate: A Myth?

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The Good News:

- There are a number of fair trade companies that are serious about sourcing their chocolate ethically.
- The majority of organic chocolate is grown in Central and South America where slavery has not been an issue. Because of the limited supply of organic chocolate, most farmers receive a fair price.
- There are a select number of farms in West Africa who receive a fair price for their chocolate and are slave and child labor free.

If you’re confused now about which companies to trust you’re not alone. For some, refusing to buy chocolate from companies that source from the Ivory Coast – no matter their certifications or promise of due diligence – is the only option. Other consumers choose to buy chocolate from the select companies that are attempting to address the slave trade issue directly. These companies purchase their supplies from farmers or farming co-ops on the Ivory Coast who do not participate in the slave trade. Below you’ll find a list of companies in both categories, so the decision is up to you.

No matter what chocolate choices you make, remember that food is power. And as consumers our greatest weapon is what we “choose to consume.” Just because we’re used to grabbing items off the shelf without thinking doesn’t mean we should be. There is a story behind each item we purchase. From the underpaid migrant workers who picked the oranges piled high, to the children enslaved and maimed for each Hershey’s kiss. Do your research and take back your power to change these practices.

I chose to include the Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate’s list because of the amount of research, time and follow-through that went into creating this list. Some companies on the list are completely vegan, but some make both vegan and non-vegan chocolate, so make sure to read the labels before purchasing.

From the Food Empowerment Project:

Chocolate we feel comfortable recommending”:*

* “…The first category is pretty simple. These are companies that make some (if not all) vegan chocolates. They have responded to us when we requested where they get their cacao beans from, and the beans did not come from the Ivory Coast or Ghana.” -  Appetite for Justice by Food Empowerment Project

- 365 Dark Chocolate Bar (Whole Foods Market)
– Alce Nero’s dark chocolate
– Allison’s Gourmet
– Amano
– Angell Chocolate Bars
– Askinoise
– Boardwalk Chocolates (not the white chocolate)
– Café Gratitude
– Chocolate Ibarra
– Chocolatl
– Chuao Chocolatier
– Cocolo (Australia & New Zealand)
– Coconut Bliss (they were recently bought by a dairy company)
– Coco-Zen
– Cotton Tree Chocolate (70% bar – only in Belize)
– Crispy Cat
– Denman Island Chocolate
- Divine

– Eat Pastry
– Edensoy
– Equal Exchange
– Essential Living Foods
– The Fearless Chocolate Company
– Frontier
– Gnosis
– Go Macro’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crunch
– Goss Chocolate (dark and special dark chocolate, nibs and cocoa powder)
– Justin’s Nut Butter
– Kakaw Belizean Chocolate (Belize)
– Kakayo Chocolate Company
– Kopali Organics
– La Siembra – Cocoa Camino
– Love Street Livin
– Loving Earth (New Zealand)
– Lulu’s Chocolates
– Madécasse’s Chocolate
– Mast Brothers Chocolate
– Michel Cluizel (Dark Chocolate, Single Estate)
– Mindo Chocolate
– Nada Moo
– Nature’s Path
– Navitas Naturals
– Newman’s Own
– New Tree
– Nutiva (hemp protein powder chocolate shake)
– The Oakland Chocolate Company
– Obsessive Confection Disorder
– Organica (Venture Foods)
– Organic Fair
– Plamil
– Rapunzel
– René Rey Chocolates
– República del Cacao
– Righteously Raw
– Sacred Chocolate
– Salazon Chocolate
– SaviSeed
– Scarborough Fair (New Zealand)
– Scream Sorbet
– Shaman Chocolates
– Sjaaks (Eli’s Earth Bars)
– Sunflour Baking Company
– Sunfood’s Chocolate
– Sunridge Farms
– Sweet Earth Chocolates
– Sweet & Sara
– Taza Chocolates
– Temptation
– Theo Chocolate
– Turtle Mountain (organic only)
– Ulimana
– Ultimate SuperFoods
– Vivani
– Whistler Chocolate
– Wild Boar’s Dark Chocolate (Hagensborg Chocolates)
– Zenergy Powerballs

Next: Companies that are attempting to source ethical chocolate from the Ivory Coast.

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


+ add your own
1:39AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

thanx for sharing

3:01PM PST on Feb 24, 2014

Please check out Yachana jungle chocolate at it is made of cocoa nibs picked from the rain forest- no slave labor, no rain forest destruction!

1:23PM PST on Feb 16, 2014

I haven't yet found a mention of Cadburys, the most famous makers of good chocolate in the UK. I want to know...

9:00PM PST on Feb 13, 2014

Thanks to Alina for the petition. (s, p, t)

1:45PM PST on Feb 13, 2014

Useful, thanks!

7:31AM PST on Feb 13, 2014

Fair trade is the only way to go, no enjoyment eating chocolate when you know slavery provided it!

5:12AM PST on Feb 13, 2014

I have never heard of any of these chocolates - on either of the lists.

6:00AM PST on Feb 12, 2014


12:43AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

2:07PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

All chocolate should be slavery free.

To help make that happen, please sign my petition:

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thanks for posting.

To an extent do what you want to do because you are already old.

Too little too late to stop the spread of the worst invasive pest. Humans are everywhere.

I often eat adzuki beans, but unfortunately, some of these superfoods are expensive, such as jerusal…

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