Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Green Chocolate

It’s the Green Chocolate installment! No, this is not some crazy St. Patrick’s Day comestible. In honour of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d spotlight eco-friendly chocolate. I know that V-Day is today and my installment a tad late. But really, is it ever too late for chocolate?

There’s a dark side to our favourite yummy treat, aside from the extra pounds that eating it may produce. According to a recent article in TreeHugger, 43 percent of the world’s cocoa is harvested in the Ivory Coast where there are documented reports of child slavery and unsafe working conditions.

While two of the largest chocolate companies, Hershey's and M&M/Mars and others such as Nestle, claim no responsibility for these work practices citing that they don’t own the plantations, they nevertheless buy from them. As key purchasers they wield great power and yet refuse to do anything about this human rights violation.

In buying from these chocolate companies, we too become complicit in inhumane practices.

There is a solution. When you buy chocolate, choose Fair Trade. Through Fair Trade, farmers are offered a fair wage for the cocoa, are paid directly, invest in their communities and businesses and practice sustainable farming to protect the environment. Fair Trade costs more than other chocolate but it reflects a fair and appropriate price. There is a reason why the Hershey bar is so cheap. We must ask ourselves, is child slavery worth a one dollar chocolate bar?

To me protecting the environment and protecting people and communities go hand in hand. What is sustainable for the environment is sustainable for people and vice versa.

I am crazy for chocolate and my favourite brand is Camino. Their mint and their almond bars are to die for. Green & Black’s ginger chocolate bar is also memorable.

For a list of chocolate companies to avoid and those to support visit Rainforest Relief.

Carol Off’s Bitter Chocolate may also be worth a read.

In the News

Ontario Clean Air Alliance questions energy recommendations made by the Ontario Power Authority
According to the Alliance, the OPA overestimates the province’s future energy demand and nuclear’s ability to fill the need on time and budget. For more on their new report, Rolling the Dice: A Review of the Ontario Power Authority’s High-Risk Strategy to Meet Our Electricity Needs, click here.

More News
Green Bloggers


Grist Magazine

Tree Hugger

Zerofootprint Blog

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