I love chocolate. I think about it all the time. (No really. All through lunch all I can think about is the chocolate square I'm going to have for dessert.) I talk about it. I bake with it. And, of course, I eat it.
There is really nothing like good chocolate. So rich. So smooth. So delicious.
It's easy to forget that chocolate is a luxury.
After all, it's everywhere. Just this morning I was at the grocery store picking up food for the week, and I noticed a display with cheap chocolate candy on sale. It's so easy to find. Days that I don't have some kind of chocolate in my house are rare.
But for a lot of people, chocolate is far from common. It may not even be something they've tasted before. And you know who doesn't typically get to eat chocolate?
The people who harvest cocoa.
In fact, the chocolate industry is one (of several, unfortunately) that frequently relies on child and slave labor. Cocoa farming practices aren't often monitored, and workers' rights are usually neglected.
In other words, my chocolate habit has reinforced slavery.
That revelation isn't something I should just say "*gulp* Oops!" to and move on. It makes me angry! I want to do something about it.
The good news is that I can. By choosing what I buy, I can support fair practices around the world. How? Here are two great resources:
Free2Work grades companies based on their policies, transparency, monitoring and worker rights. You can see at a glance which companies score high, and which score abysmally low. It's eye-opening to skim through the chocolate companies and see just how few have good scores.
Fair Trade is a certification that tells you with a simple label that the goods are produced using fair, sustainable practices. More on what Fair Trade means here.
If I'm really serious about caring for the global community, I need to make some changes with how I buy chocolate. It's a luxury. If I can't afford the more expensive fair trade, then I don't need to buy it. When I do buy it, I need to be conscious of which companies I support.
This will be a challenge for me. As I said above, chocolate is everywhere. I need to be mindful of where my money goes. But this is a step that is important to me to take.
Today chocolate. Tomorrow... one of the many other industries listed at Free2Work. It'll be a process, and it might be hard at times, but these are choices I can live with.