Sunday, April 12, 2009

EaSter eGgs

Cadbury announced that its Dairy Milk bar will become Fairtrade certified in Britain and Ireland. The decision will transform Fairtrade chocolate from a niche preference to a mainstream ethical benchmark, encompassing 15% of chocolate sold in Britain. Cadbury's chief executive, Todd Stitzer, said he plans to convert the group's other chocolate brands to Fairtrade "as soon as we can do it." Dairy Milk is the first mainstream chocolate bar to be sold with a commitment to pay cocoa suppliers the "Fairtrade premium," i.e. a living wage.

The Association of Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers, a cooperative of 18 industrial chocolate companies, says it is working to ensure Switzerland's world-famous chocolate is produced under fair and ethical practices. "We are aware of our social responsibilities as employers and are committed to a social partnership," the association says.

About 60% of the worldwide cocoa production comes from West Africa, with the bulk of the beans coming from Ivory Coast, a particularly problematic country for child labour abuse. The Cocoa Protocol was introduced as a voluntary, industry-wide protocol that chocolate producers signed in 2001. It set out to eliminate child labour and forced labour from West African cocoa farms by July 2005. The industry failed to meet target goals in the protocol in time, so the deadline was extended to 2008 and then again to 2010. Perhaps economic clout can do what (admittedly toothless) political action could not.

In Canada, lots of Cadbury chocolate is available, and note that Cadbury also owns Green and Blacks, makers of yummy mini eggs.

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