Primary school children at the Isabel de Leon Primary School, Yamasa, Dominican Republic. Funds earned by CONACADO's cocoa farmers from their fair trade sales have been used to construct two classrooms of permanent materials, helping to reduce class sizes.
Easter is a time when many of us like to continue well-established traditions. A quick survey of Trade Aid staff brings up a list that includes painting eggs, baking hot cross buns, and eating fish instead of meat on Good Fridays – you may well have your own annual Easter rituals that you share with friends and family.
And your traditions will quite likely include the consumption of chocolate. Groaning supermarket displays in the run up to Easter are testament to the fact that we Kiwis eat a serious collective amount of chocolate at this time of the year.
But which chocolate will you choose to include in your 2020 Easter celebrations?
Easter chocolate displays in supermarkets are dominated this year by the usual major brands and products. All of the manufacturers of these products continue to source many of their cocoa beans from untraceable western African supply, at unsustainably low prices. This is an undeniable problem because the cocoa producers in these countries only earn around a dollar a day and are trapped in poverty, while their crops earn these manufacturers very healthy profits. This complacent approach to supply chain transparency exposes these companies – and New Zealand consumers – to a product that we know to include child slavery and the mass destruction of forests to clear land for the expansion of cocoa production.
These companies are well aware of this situation, and have resisted repeated calls over more than 20 years to take responsibility for ensuring that the cocoa farmers that supply them are receive a living wage for their harvests. How is this possible? This detail from the 2018 Cocoa Barometer report highlights the realities of the chocolate industry:
“It is obvious that the present cocoa price is too low to close the gap between present income and living income. Many company employees acknowledge this in private conversations. Cocoa traders and grinders for example told the authors that they know that the price for cocoa has to be significantly higher. However, to find a solution for that, many still rely on the market. Despite having acknowledged the problem, cocoa traders and grinders often stress they will only increase prices if chocolate companies are going to pay for increasing procurement costs. Many chocolate companies meanwhile blame price pressure from retailers. The debate – if even begun at all – has been stuck at this point for more than a decade now”.
Trade Aid has led the way in providing sustainably sourced chocolate to New Zealanders for over 20 years. Trade Aid goes to extensive lengths in order to provide cocoa farmers with fairer returns, as its food manager, Justin Purser, explains:
‘We began selling fair trade chocolate in 1998, and 100% of our chocolate has always been fair trade. However we have always recognised that in order to offer sustainable returns to cocoa producers, we have to keep improving our business model. This had led us to set up our own chocolate factory here in Christchurch and to buy the cocoa we use as directly as possible from producer-owned businesses under fair trade terms. We also maximise the amount of value we can add to producers at origin by buying cocoa which has already been processed into cocoa liquor and cocoa butter”.
This Easter we invite you to create a new tradition. Buy with heart and choose Trade Aid chocolate, a brand of chocolate which is dedicated to improving the lives of cocoa producers. Our delicious range, widely available in supermarkets, premium retailers, Trade Aid stores and online, contains many enticing flavours. Keep an eye out for our latest flavour – Milk Hazelnut – which has won rave reviews from our early taste testers.
By supporting Trade Aid, you are helping us to raise the bar and to create a more sustainable chocolate industry.
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