The 2010 documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate, exposed much of the exploitation and slavery of children in the cocoa industry. In 2001, Chocolate Manufacturers Association and its members signed a document that prohibited child trafficking and labor in the cocoa industry after 2008. However, children are still being enslaved and forced to work under cruel conditions on many cacao bean farms.
With that said, many companies buy and work with ethically sourced cocoa.
The Food Empowerment Project was started to help bring about awareness of how our food choices can have a positive impact on the world – “By making ethical food choices, we can make a difference and take a stand against abuses.” They created a Chocolate List to help consumers make ethical decisions when buying chocolate. They also only feature companies that produce vegan products, making this list both people and animal-friendly. The list is broken down into lists of companies they recommend and do not recommend when buying any forms of chocolate. Their team researches and contacts all of these companies to investigate where the companies source their cocoa and if it is ethically sourced. If a company is not recommended, they make a note to let consumers know why they reached that decision, as well as makes a note if the company is working on correcting the issues.
You can view the Chocolate List online, as well as download the Android or iOS app to always have it available. You can also read additional information about child slavery and labor in the cocoa industry by visiting the Food Empowerment Project's website.
The hot chocolate I made today was made with Rapunzel Organic Fair Trade Cocoa, vegan-friendly sugar, and soy milk.