Chocolate is a sweet treat that can actually be good for you! Especially if the percentage of cacao is high and sugar levels are low, chocolate, in moderation, can provide an antioxidant boost for the body and may even help lower cholesterol and prevent cognitive decline.
The bad news is that conventional chocolate is often grown and produced by children or adults who are mistreated, abused, and enslaved. A study conducted by Tulane University over the 2013-2014 growing season documented that around 2.1 million children were engaged in “objectionable” labor practices in cocoa farming in the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
This unconscionable behavior is happening in cocoa-producing countries all over the developing world. Certified fair trade chocolate provides an alternative that satisfies the palate and doesn’t come at the cost of worker health, safety, or dignity.
Divine Chocolate products, for example, are made from cocoa grown by adult farmers in Ghana who are part of a democratically run cooperative. Farmers use environmentally-friendly growing methods and fully participate in the weighing and buying process which ensures a fair price.
Divine farmers also pay it forward by investing in their community. Because they are paid a living wage, cooperative farmers have been able to fund a well to provide clean and easy-to-access water for their village.
Across the Atlantic in South America, the Peruvian group Acopagro Co-op grows the cacao used in Alter-Eco chocolate bars and truffles. Acopagro Co-op farmers earn a fair wage and have the security of a long-term relationship with buyers. Because they no longer grow illegal coca (used to manufacture cocaine), they are not subjected to oppression and violence from drug traffickers as in the past.
The next time you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, head to Global Gifts for a bar (or more) of fair trade chocolate. Milk chocolate or dark chocolate in many tasty varieties are available!
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