Guiglo, Western Ivory Coast has a very important cocoa bean farming land in the world. It is also a place where many West African children were forced to leave their homeland and go to these farms to do knife-wielding labor. Furthermore, eight farmers who were sold to Ivory Coast from Mali had accused chocolate companies of using child labor and enslaving them. Consequently, The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) was brought in Washington, D.C against proceedings by several cocoa companies. Also, U.S. federal judges stated that they strongly condemned the use of forced labor by cocoa companies to produce their products. It means that the chocolate we buy at the grocery stores is likely to be the labor from West African children.
We often see “Fair Trade” on the packaging of many chocolate brands. Fair Trade means that these brands protect their farmers’ living income so that their pay and work environment are treated ethically. When we buy products from ethical chocolate brands, we are supporting this industry for the better. In that case, I would like to introduce my top three ethically-produced chocolate brands.
#1 Theo Chocolate
Theo Chocolate was established in Seattle, Washington in January 2005 by Joe Whinney and Jeff Fairhall. Theo Chocolate has organic and fair trade at the core of their ethical sourcing principles, and they use third parties as a means of certification to ensure equal working conditions and wages for their farmers and employees. Also, they care about the environmental impact of manufacturing and selling commodities. I like their Mint Chocolate Cookie Bites with 55% Dark chocolate.
#2 Loving Earth Chocolate
Loving Earth Chocolate is an Australian brand that was founded in 2007 by Scott Fry and Martha Butler. Loving Earth Chocolate cares for and supports the development of Indigenous communities and their people, so this brand is committed to working with relevant communities. For example, they help the Ashaninka community protect their land and establish a certified organic fair trade locally to ensure that the labor of the local people is properly paid. Moreover, their chocolates use raw cacao grown by the Ashaninka community in the remote forest at the headwaters of the Peruvian Amazon as they also believe the sustainable use of the rainforest is important. I’d recommend their Friendly Vegan & Milkless Gluten Free White Chocolate Bar.
#3 Endangered Species Chocolate
Endangered Species Chocolate is a chocolate brand founded in 1993 by an Oregon entrepreneur. They bring chocolate to the markets to bring awareness to health and sustainable practices. , They also use Fair Trade certified cocoa beans from Western Ivory Coast, West Africa, to make their products. Moreover, their products are certified gluten-free for health-conscious practices, and most of their products are vegan. In addition to these, they are partners with the National Forest Foundation and they have donated more than $2 million to wildlife conservation groups to protect species and their habitats around the world. I’d recommend their Strong and Velvety Dark Chocolate Bar which has only three grams of sugar per serving.