Fair Trade Chocolate

Image of Fair Trade logo


FairTradeChocolateAlter Eco, Madécasse, Divine , Lily’s
Black & Gold, ChocoLove,
Salazon, Equal Exchange

Fair Trade logos
Source: Fair Trade USA

Chocolate is notorious for exploitative conditions, sometimes likened to slavery, including the use of child labor. Some plantations–particularly in the Ivory Coast–provide much of the world’s chocolate, and are used in brands like Nestle, Mars, and Cadbury. Fair trade chocolate provides an alternative, produced under fair conditions, returning more profit to the workers. Fair trade chocolate is produced by worker cooperatives that distribute profits equitably, where workers have control over their own production. Cocoa producers have benefited from hard lessons learned in the fair trade coffee sector. As large corporations like Starbucks jumped on the fair trade coffee bandwagon after 2001, concerns over corporate profit and corporate responsibility to shareholders began to trump some of the core values of fair trade, weakening its social justice agenda. This led to price stagnation and a declining commitment to worker cooperatives. In response to this, when Divine chocolate formed as a fair trade chocolate brand, it immediately dispersed half of the company’s shares to the coffee growers themselves. This means that workers receive not only a favorable fair trade price per ton of cocoa, but also a share of profits from the sale of manufactured candy. Running the company for the best interests of the shareholders is also in the best interests of the growers!

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