Friday, February 11, 2011

Freedom Friday - The Chocolate edition

With Valentine's coming on Monday, chocolate companies stand to make a big profit.

I wanted to write another Freedom Friday post to expose what many people don't know about chocolate.  There definitely is a darker side to chocolate.  Check out this trailer for a documentary called "The Dark Side of Chocolate":

The Ivory Coast in West Africa is a huge producer of cocoa (the main ingredient in chocolate).  In this region it has been made known that children are used in working cocoa fields.

Many of the major chocolate companies use cocoa from this area, which means that the chocolate that you eat could have involved exploitation of children.  Some companies to be aware of are:
Dove :-(  This one has always been my personal favorite chocolate
Russel Stover
These are some of the big names that should be leading the way in making fair trade chocolate.

One organization called Stop the Traffik has launched an initiative to target Nestle in imploring them to create more fair trade Chocolate products.  You can read more about it here.  Some points of action through this initiative are:
- Send this letter to the managing director of Nestle
- Use your Twitter account to raise awareness.  Tweet your concern using @Nestle and #haveaheart
- Buy fair trade chocolate and when doing so use this coupon to let people know why

In my research today, I also came across this article about Hershey.  It's a really good read with some good information (or really bad information when you think about the fact that there needs to be more action).

Here is another video that I have been watching.  I have actually not finished watching but definitely wanted to include it in this post.  It is a BBC investigative report on the problem of child labor on cocoa farms:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

While many companies need to make lots of efforts to become fair trade, we can know it is possible through those who do produce fair trade chocolate.  Take a look at this page to know where you can buy  chocolate that is ensured to not involve slavery in it's production.

Half the battle is raising awareness and that is what this post is about.  Now you know.  I am not in any way trying to make anyone feel guilty.  Any feeling of conviction is of the Lord, but definitely not guilt.  If you have a year's supply of chocolate from Hershey's, I am not in any way suggesting you throw it away.  I would say eat and enjoy :-)  

I bring up this issue so that we can be wise consumers in the future.  I really do believe that much is happening in the world to end modern day slavery.  I believe it will end in my lifetime.  I serve a God of hope and I know that He moves on my behalf when I ask Him to set the captives free.  So I seek freedom and commit to "be the change I wish to see in the world."  This little blog post is one of my action points in being the change.

PS - Here is another good article that my friend Stephanie posted on Facebook.  Thought it was worth adding.

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