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Cocoa is the main ingredient needed to make chocolate, and we get the majority of our cocoa beans from the tropical regions of the world, such as Ivory Coast and Ghana. Most of this cocoa comes from small family farms, making it the livelihood for many farmers.
Unfortunately, slavery, unfair payment, dangerous working conditions, and even child labour is widespread on cocoa farms. Female farmers are often paid as little as 23p a day.
Corporate chocolate companies have been exposed for profiting off of this unethical system, and it seems as if there's a severe lack of transparency in the industry. Corporate companies are turning a blind eye to the atrocities that are happening on cocoa farms.
So before you seek out your next bar of chocolate to satiate your sweet craving, try to remember that your purchases make a difference. Buying from ethical companies that care about cocoa farmers means that you're buying towards a more compassionate future where all humans are treated with fairness and respect.
To help you out, I have listed a few of my favourite companies that have strong values and care about where they source their ingredients from while also making sure their chocolate is delicious, too!
Seed and Bean are accredited as one of the most ethical chocolate producers in Britain. From day one, they've made it their ethos to create the most ethical, sustainable and delicious British plant-based chocolate. All of their ingredients are organic, they use Fair Trade approved suppliers wherever they can (16 of their bars are Fair Trade chocolate), and each of their wrappers is fully compostable!
The folks at Enjoy! believe that chocolate tastes better when it's made simply and just with a few natural ingredients and no hidden nasties; I couldn't agree more! You won't find any gluten, soya, dairy or refined sugar in their products, and their factory is nut-free, too. Their product range uses a base of three organic, pure ingredients: raw cacao powder, cacao butter, and coconut sugar. They're also a company that is transparent about where their ingredients are sourced (Peru, Indonesia and the Philippines), and their bars are certified organic by the Soil Association.
Venture Foods is an independent family business that was founded in 1999. Their company offers a diverse range of high-quality vegan and organic foods under their Geo Organics and Organica brands. The majority of their products are proudly certified by the Soil Association stamp and Vegan Society approved, including their delicious chocolates!
Montezuma's isn't a fully vegan brand, but they do have a wonderful vegan chocolate selection, from chocolate buttons to truffle bites. The company uses the best quality ethical cocoa sourced from plantations that meet their strict 'Trading Fairly Policy'. They also support the Chichester-based charity 'Children on the Edge' who work tirelessly for children worldwide.
Divine is another brand that isn't fully vegan but boasts a wide selection of vegan products. They are a global, farmer-owned chocolate company, meaning their purpose is to help farmers gain a share of the wealth they are helping to create, putting them higher up the value chain. This form of supply chain is much more equal and fair and a way that cocoa farming can work sustainably into the future. The team behind Divine Chocolate have also shared a commitment to empowering women. They work hard supporting women in cocoa farming while also providing education and mentoring to help them learn valuable and professional skills.
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