COCOA LOCO

Image credit: Vera Kodajova

Thursday, 18th April 2019

What begins with a ‘c’, can be powdered, is highly addictive and makes you forget all your problems?  

Chocolate! In the UK we love our sugar-highs so much that the choco and confectionery market is currently worth around £5,000m. Chocolate-eating is thought to date back to around 1900 BC to the Olmecs in Mexico who loved a chocolate bev. Yes, that means chocolate is older than the bible. However of late it has failed to move with the times and has been the source of some very unsavoury practices, that frankly belong in the ancient world. 

 

Cocoa farming has been revealed to be one of the worst offenders for exploitative practices; cocoa farmers are generally extremely poor and at the mercy of volatile international market prices. 60% of cocoa comes from West Africa where slavery, and in particular child labour, on cocoa farms is extremely prevalent. Unless your chocolate has a certified fair-trade badge (see below) you could be inadvertently supporting the cocoa slave trade. 

 

Additionally, like with most mass-production, cheap cocoa farming is costing the earth. Deforestation and the use of chemical pesticides disrupt the natural eco-systems on a large scale  causing wide-ranging impacts on the environment. Ironically cocoa farming is one of the industries that is suffering most from climate change as cocoa beans need a dry climate in order to dry the beans for sale. You can support ecologically farmed cocoa by buying organic chocolate and products marked with the Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certification.  

Image credit: Tony's Chocolonely

One of Rehabilitate’s favourite chocolate brands: Tony’s Chocolonely. Founded by Dutch journalist, Teun van de Keuken, in pursuit of creating a slavery-free chocolate brand. He named it ‘chocolonely’ because his slave-free policy was a lonely one in the chocolate market at the time. These bars will give you a double hit of not just endorphins, but oxytocin too.  

Image credit: Montezuma's

Another of our favourites is Montezuma's. Based in West Sussex, it is a small family business with ethics at its heart. Helen and Simon have personally visited the cocoa plantations and ensure that their chocolate is made from great quality and ethical cocoa. If you're looking for a plastic-free, organic, vegan and UK based egg this definitely ticks all the boxes!

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