You may be looking for chocolate that is sustainable and ethical (no child labour) and are unsure what you could choose. You, like most of us, think that chocolate with the Fairtrade name and
logo must be what you’d want.
Fairtrade International states that “Fairtrade means…decent working conditions and a ban on discrimination, forced labour and child labour”. This is on the “about” page of their website.
That should be clear enough. I thought so. I went to Fairtrade Canada in Ottawa to talk with Helen Reimer, their Director of Business Development, and spoke on the phone with José Abad-Puelles, their Chocolate Specialist. I was hoping I could somehow link Chocolate Choice’s goal to end child labour involved in chocolate with Fairtrade.
I was told that cacao and chocolate being certified by Fairtrade couldn’t always guarantee that there wasn’t any forced labour and child labour! I couldn’t believe my ears! Did that mean that when Fairtrade and their logo implied that sustainable and ethical were ensured that it was only sometimes?!
José said, “…it was complicated.” Wait. What? It’s complicated? If Fairtrade couldn’t guarantee that there wasn’t any forced labour or child labour, just don’t certify it as sustainable. How complicated is that? Well, understanding that the name Fairtrade and its logo are leased might help. Yes, the supplier has to buy the right to use these. We wonder if there’s pressure exerted to approve chocolate as sustainable even when there isn’t any proof?!