We are stocking a new and super delicious brand of Ethical Chocolate called "Hey Tiger." And it is sooooo yummy!
Some nights lying in bed I have considered whether I need just one more thing to eat before sleep and I have actually considered driving to the shop to get a "Hey Tiger" bar! Ha ha!
I set the record for gluttony and demolished a whole bar of Chilli Mint in 3 minutes and 26 seconds! So Good!
The Hey Tiger Chocolate is seeking to fund The Hunger Project through the sales of its delicious product.
In the words of the Hey Tiger creator Cyan Ta’eed (pictured below):
“I felt terrible that something that gave me so much pleasure was responsible for a huge amount of suffering in West Africa. I thought, what if there was a chocolate company where you buy it because you love it but it's a social enterprise under the hood?”
Worldwide we consumed 7696 metric tons of chocolate this year, huge!
The cocoa farmers. however, are not sharing in the joy.
Most Cocoa Farmers live below the poverty line, earning below $2.00 per day. In contrast, the chocolate industry earned more than 68 Billion in 2016 alone.
Where you have families and communities in desperate poverty and relying on their children’s income combined with an industry that needs cheap labour to survive, you will have children working long hours in hard manual labour.
The chocolate manufacturers have it within their financial power to ensure that they pay the Cocoa Farmers a living wage.
Children are working up to 12 hours per day and using machetes to cut cocoa, applying insecticides without protective clothing and carrying loads that weigh more than they do, all on poor non-nourishing diets. One article I read stated that at harvest times the children carrying the bags of dried cocoa seeds invariably had multiple wounds on their backs from the effort of lugging huge loads from site to site.
In 2001 the major chocolate producers signed an agreement called the “Harkin-Engel Protocol” stating that the use of “the worst forms” of child labour in cocoa production were unacceptable.
There has been little action taken to achieve this and the majority of chocolate companies have not put in place any process or standards to ensure that they conform to the demands of this document. Surveys show that in real terms the number of children working in Cocoa Farms in these two nations has increased since the signing of the protocol.
Chocolate companies have also been called upon to financially contribute to the rescue of children trafficked into the Cocoa Industry but have yet to work towards this in any meaningful way.
“One of the recent developments in the global chocolate and cocoa market is the growing inclination towards Fair Trade certified products. Such chocolate products are made from cocoa produced from farms that do not indulge in inhuman practices such as slavery and child labour. The Fair-Trade organisations have been dedicated to the promotion of trade relationships that support liveable incomes for farmers, labourers and families of cocoa growers through a commitment to prices that produce a stable economic and social environment.”
At The Fair Trader, we stock Absolutely Totally Yummy Fair Trade Certified Chocolate Brands with Divine Chocolate, Seed and Bean and now the ethically sourced Hey Tiger range of deliciousness.
In Fair Trade Chocolate the Farmer is Fairly Paid for his work and is financially able to seek labour at harvest time in a dignified and just manner.
Fair Trade Co Ops give extra funding where the farmer requires to upgrade their education and their farming practice or equipment.
Fair Trade Cocoa Farmers are encouraged to form co-ops to ensure they have a larger market value and a larger voice and influence on price. One such co-op called Conacado in the Dominican Republic has now become the tenth largest cocoa exporter in the world! YAY!
Fair Trade Certification also guarantees a stable minimum price so that the farmer has the confidence to invest in new trees and equipment.
This is where you come in! When you are aware of all the joy or pain that cocoa can bring what does it matter if you pay a few extra dollars? When you buy Fair it just brings so much more joyfulness! Tastes so much better too! And with less added sugar, it is better for you, and better for everyone.
And as always, the brave and resilient people who make our products teach us every day that amazing things are possible!
If you want to read/watch more:
- https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheDarkSideOfChocolate : (This is a short film made by a Danish Filmmaker about the use of Children in Cocoa Plantations in West Africa but be careful, it gave me nightmares.)