Chocolate - AlterNativa3


Autora: Eugenia González.

It is very likely that some of the products that are commonly consumed promote child exploitation and slavery. Are you aware of it? Here I give you some tips to avoid this situation and promote change.

What do your consumption habits say about you?

I was once told that every time I buy a product, the manufacturer interprets my action in a very specific way: “she likes my product.” The logical consequence?Let’s manufacture another product. And do it the same way all over again.

Well, when I buy a chocolate bar that promotes child labor in Africa, the manufacturer interprets my action in a very specific way: “she likes my product.” The logical consequence? Let’s make another one. And do everything exactly the same way all over again.

The connection between cocoa cultivation and child exploitation

What can you do?

I’m sure you don’t want to contribute to this situation. I am clear and, if you are like me, you will feel terrible. Cocoa, in all its forms, is one of my favorite products and is never missing at home. I love chocolate! And you, how many years have you been consuming chocolate? Do your children have some regularly? Do you always have some at home?

Honestly? It hurts to talk about child exploitation. But I have come to the conclusion that the only way to change this situation is for us to become aware of it. If we don’t speak, we are making the situation invisible, we are denying reality and we are closing the door to change.

Data made me vividly aware

Child labor exploitation affects 11% of children in the world. That is 168 million minors (data from the UNDP – United Nations Development Programme). And the crisis caused by COVID-19 only makes this situation even worse.

These are some facts to reflect on:

  • More than a million boys and girls work in cocoa farming in West Africa.
  • Between 200,000 and 800,000 boys and girls under 18 years of age are trafficked each year in West Africa.
  • The cocoa industry moves millions of euros in Europe.

Child labor is a violation of Human Rights:

  • It directly affects the development of boys and girls.
  • It causes physical, psychological, and emotional damage for the rest of their lives.
  • It perpetuates poverty for generations, since with no education it is practically impossible to climb the social ladder.

The International Labor Organization states that: “under current conditions, unless measures are taken to alleviate it, poverty could be perpetuated from generation to generation.”

What are the causes of child labor?
It is a complex issue, but it is clearly rooted in poverty and the unfair conditions of Conventional International Trade.
That is why Fair Trade, an ethical alternative to conventional trade, is a solution.


Is chocolate organic? When talking about organic products, the emphasis is often placed on whether they have more nutrients than conventional ones, but I prefer to focus on what they do not contain: chemical fertilizers, synthetic herbicides, industrial fungicides… An organic product does not contain chemicals and for that reason it is good for your health as well as your family’s.
On the other hand, if no harmful chemicals have been added, that means that the people involved in its cultivation or production have not been exposed to those harmful substances either.

Cacao plantation image

Is it Fair Trade?

What is the real deal? Look, if a chocolate is conventional and does not have a seal certifying that it is fair trade, it is more than likely that in its cultivation, production, transportation or trading there have been children in situations of forced labor, slavery or human trafficking.
However, if it has the Fair Trade seal it means that the cooperative (association of farmers) that wants its products to be certified has adhered to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which assures us that there is no forced labor. Conditions will be implemented to ensure the well-being, safety, education and need to play of minors.
And, thanks to the “premiums” that the producers receive, the children of the community have access to education, health, drinking water… and not only the boys and girls, but also the adults. Fair Trade benefits the entire community.

cocoa farmers and benefits of fair trade

Could Fair Trade be the solution?

Don’t be fooled: those of us who support Fair trade are not a handful of idealists, we are millions of consumers. Yes, we are not the majority, and the road ahead is long, but we exist and with our actions we really change the lives of thousands of people every day.

How to get down to business today?

Fairtrade shopper

Start replacing commonly consumed products with alternative, ethical and sustainable ones. To make sure that cocoa (or coffee, sugar, etc.) protects children, you should make sure that the product has the Fair Trade seal.

You will find these products in some supermarkets, although it is more common to see them in organic, diet and herbal product stores.

On AlterNativa3’s website, you have a lot of options for products made with cocoa (and they are all very delicious): pure cocoa powder, instant cocoa, cocoa with superfoods, chocolate bars, single-origin chocolate, chocolate drops and toppings… And they are all organic and Fair Trade. And you are supporting a company that has been committed to change for more than 40 years.

Organic Fair Trade Chocolate and children

Start with a small action. And then go ahead with something easy. But don’t stop there, keep making changes, even if it’s just one little thing each month: the drinking chocolate that your children have in the morning, that chocolate gift you bring when visiting someone, your baking chocolate option, the chocolate chips you use on your muffins…

Start with a small action. And then go on with something easy. But don’t stop there. You (and I and so many other conscious consumers) are the engine that makes change possible.

Yes, I support respecting children by buying Fair Trade chocolate

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