Monday, April 3, 2017

Cocoa, Slavery and Child Labor

In a recent post on the connection between "Big Chocolate" and slavery, Mark Shea stated that "Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and Cadbury exploit child slavery in the chocolate trade". I've heard of the use of slavery and child labor in the production of chocolate - and coffee - and I seem to recall reading that Cadbury has been involved in the fairtrade movement for a number of years. Unlike Mr. Shea, I'm a bit skeptical about everything I read on the Internet. It's possible that Mr Shea accepted the information given in the article he linked to because it fits the narrative that all corporations are evil.

A quick search lead me to this statement on the website informing us that "Cadbury Dairy Milk has been Fairtrade since 2009 and was the first mainstream chocolate brand to become Fairtrade certified. Cadbury and Fairtrade are now building on this relationship through a global partnership between Cocoa Life and Fairtrade". Looking further, I found out that Mars Chocolate is working with fair trade certifiers through its Sustainable Cocoa Initiative to certify its products. If the information I've come across is true, Cadbury and Mars don't belong on the list with Hershey and Nestlé.

Shea is correct in putting Nestlé on the list of companies supporting slavery and child labor as well as the Hershey company. My main problem with Mr Shea's post is his immediate attack on conservative, pro-life Catholics. He believes that those in the pro-life camp will defend "Big Chocolate" and turn a blind eye to the slavery and exploitation found in the cocoa business.

Reading his post, I get the impression that Mr Shea has only recently discovered the slavery component to cocoa and may have feelings of guilt about his love of chocolate. Perhaps his attack on pro-life Catholics helps to ease his conscience.

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