What is Ethical Chocolate?

Mara Mennicken

Is Your Chocolate Ethical?

Chocolate is often thought of as a guilty pleasure, but ethical chocolate is different- it comes from ethically harvested cocoa beans and producers. Organic standards and fair trade certifications (providing fair pay for labourers’ work) are also requirements. 

If you are looking for ethical chocolate recipes or are curious to learn how ethical chocolate companies are supporting the eradication of child slavery, this blog post covers the details here for you!  

What is Ethical Chocolate?

Ethical chocolate means the production process – from the cacao bean to creating the finished chocolate bar – is made using only ethical labour practices. This type of chocolate is all about feeling good about what you buy and eat.

This means that the chocolate is grown free of slave labour, harvested ethically, processed in ethical facilities, and sold using fair prices. The term ‘fair trade’ has become the industry standard to describe this type of ethical business practice, promoting sustainable living for small-scale farmers worldwide.

The first step towards understanding what makes ethical chocolate different from other chocolate is to understand the ethical issues surrounding cocoa farming, harvesting and processing. Today’s mainstream business model for large-scale food production has led to a troubling number of ethical problems with a multitude of products that we eat, drink, or use daily.

These issues range from environmental degradation from deforestation in tropical regions where cocoa beans are grown, to ethical labour practices that several companies exploit to keep prices down. Unfortunately, these types of unethical business models are becoming the norm for many large-scale food production companies, and unfortunately, cocoa is also included in this.

Ethical chocolate is now becoming a valuable commodity in the mainstream market. The ethical market is now the fastest-growing sector of the global chocolate industry.

How is organic fair trade certified chocolate ethical?

Organic and ethical farming practices provide a solution to ethical labour concerns, which is one of the primary concerns in ethical chocolate production. The avoidance of chemicals in organic farming improves the lives and livelihoods of farmers by reducing their need for expensive imported products. 

Ethical companies will work directly with farmers to verify that they produce a sustainable crop- one that not only maximizes profits, but also minimizes environmental impact from habitat destruction, air pollution from burning fields, and/or rivers polluted with agriculture chemicals. 

This relationship ensures that small-scale farmers earn a fair wage to alleviate poverty while protecting the health of individuals living near the farms.

It may seem insignificant, but the way we choose to spend our dollars makes a surprisingly powerful impact on the treatment of individuals in developing countries. Purchasing chocolate from ethical companies means a larger number of families can stay together and children have the right to an education (rather than being forced into labour). 

We have the power and the choice to support good practices, even with a single chocolate bar. Realizing this power goes very far when we are reaching for our usual favourite candy bar!

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