Is Your Easter Chocolate Made by Child Labour? – Hope 103.2

Is Your Easter Chocolate Made by Child Labour?

In West Africa, where two thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced, around 1.5 million children and teens under the age of 17 produce cocoa in dangerous conditions.

Listen: Be Slavery Free national co-director Fuzz Kitto breaks down the 'Easter Chocolate Scorecard' and how your favourite chocolate stacks up

By Katrina RoeTuesday 30 Mar 2021Hope MorningsEasterReading Time: 2 minutes

Before you rip open your next Easter egg, spare a thought for the people growing the cocoa. Sadly, child labour is still widespread within the cocoa industry.

In West Africa, where two thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced, around 1.5 million children and teens under the age of 17 produce cocoa in dangerous conditions.

A recent report, from the University of Chicago, found there are more children working in the cocoa industry now than there were 10 years ago.

Fuzz Kitto is the National co-director of Be Slavery Free. He has also become somewhat of a chocolate expert.

Mr Kitto has travelled to the headquarters of every major chocolate company in the world in his work for Be Slavery Free. However, his most memorable experience has been travelling to the cocoa farms in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in West Africa, where most of the world’s cocoa is grown.

“One of the most fascinating experiences has been to introduce them to chocolate,” Mr Kitto said.

“Most of them have never tasted chocolate. The first thing they always says is ‘Oh, it’s very sweet, very very sweet!’”

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“It’s intriguing to spend time with them and then hear their stories – how they came there, what they’ve come through and the struggles that they have just to make ends meet because of the poverty and extreme poverty that they live in.”

To help shoppers choose more ethical chocolate, Be Slavery Free have released their Easter chocolate scorecard, in conjunction with five other international NGOs.

Fuzz Kitto said while child labour is the biggest issue, poverty is the real cause. That’s why they are urging chocolate companies to pay farmers a living income.

In Australia and New Zealand, Whittaker’s won the good egg award, for leading the way in the production of ethical chocolate.

The six biggest chocolate companies in the world are Mondelez (who own Cadbury’s), Mars, Nestle, Ferrero, Hershey’s and Lindt.

“Those six companies produce 80 per cent of the chocolate in the world.” Kitto explained.

“So they are the big players. Now all of those have now got programs that are working on stopping child labour so they are all moving up the scale now of actually doing something about this. But some are better than others,” Fuzz said.

And while Haig’s and Darrell Lea are too small to appear on the scorecard, Mr Kitto said both companies have made big improvements in recent years.

Listen to Fuzz Kitto from Be Slavery Free explain their Easter chocolate scorecard in the player above.