Fairtrade chocolate guide – your guide for a cracking Easter

By staff writers
March 25, 2009

It is hard to imagine Easter without chocolate eggs, but it is not well known that the industry which produces cocoa for Easter eggs survives on a massive child trafficking network. 200 years after William Wilberforce and the abolition of state-sanctioned slavery, 27 million people are being trafficked in a modern-day form of slavery. World Vision estimates that 80% of the children working the cocoa fields in Ghana and the Ivory Coast – which together produce 60% of the world’s cocoa, are exposed to dangerous practices such as unprotected use of chemicals, carrying heavy loads, brush burning and using machetes.

To help you shop ethically this Easter, we have produced a guide to the UK’s best ethically produced chocolate. All the chocolate is available from the Ethical Superstore, the Natural Collection or from Oxfam. (The Ethical Superstore is currently offering free delivery on selected items and a discount of £5 on large orders - discount code: X5EGG).

1. Divine Chocolate Ltd. is part-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative, from which it sources all its chocolate. It purchases all its cocoa at $150 per tonne more than the guaranteed Fairtrade minimum. The cooperative then ploughs this extra money back into development projects that seek to improve the welfare of farmers and their families. The chocolate has a distinctive, moderately bitter flavour which is creamy but not too sweet.

2. Traidcraft has a well-established reputation as a leading fair trade organisation. They were pioneers in using trade as a weapon in the fight against poverty. They consistently choose the small producer, building long-term relationships and investing in the professional and sustainable development of business. They produce a wide variety of ethical chocolates, in particular check out their Fairtrade Belgian Finest Selection, and the Fairtrade mini-eggs.

3. Green & Black’s have yet to make all their products conform the Fairtrade standard, but they do promise that all their ingredients, which they purchase at a premium, are ethically sourced. They have come in for criticism for a recent lowering of the level of cocoa in their chocolate, but it still accounts for 55% of content in most products. They aim for a “balance between taste and principles”, and we think they come pretty close the mark. Check out their delicious and distinctive orange-and-spice Maya Gold in particular, which was the world’s first Fairtrade marked product.

4. Chocolala is a British based chocolate producer that operates on Quaker principles, and therefore strives to work with honesty, integrity and with consideration for the well-being of others and the planet. All their products are hand-made, and they also make bespoke chocolate selections, tins of chocolate and chocolate cakes! It goes without saying that their chocolates are fair trade, and they claim to be the only UK producers of handmade chocolates registered as Fairtrade licensees and carrying the Fairtrade mark.

5. Blakes is an Irish based company that carries both the Organic Trust symbol and the Fair Trade mark, meaning you can be sure their chocolate is made with authentic organic ingredients that were purchased at the fair trade premium. Blakes have gone even further, however, by making their products not just child labour free, but also additive, colouring, preservative, soya, lecithin, emulsifier and gluten free! All packaging is also recycled.

6. Endangered Species Chocolate have as their core value a ‘Reverence for Life’, modelled after the ethics of renowned humanitarian Albert Schweitzer. Their chocolate is 100% ethically traded, and comes from small family businesses. They claim this helps sustain the wider local community and animal habitats. By purchasing their chocolate you can help them support sustainable forest farmland and the rare and endangered species that still exist there. You’ll also be supporting an industry which is founded upon fair trade, and ensuring humane working conditions for farmers and their families.

The chocolate above is available from the Oxfam Shop, the Ethical Superstore, and the Natural Collection who all have a great range of fair-trade chocolate and fair-trade chocolate eggs.

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