Grade 12 International Business
Chocolate – Slave Trade VS Fair Trade
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians purchase 6.7 kilograms of chocolate per person each year. An article by the London Daily Telegraph's Rachel Baird warns, "Up to 40 percent of the chocolate we eat may be contaminated by slavery." Ivory Coast is the world's biggest producer of cocoa beans with over a million cocoa farms and plantations. A British TV documentary, "Slavery," claims 90 percent of Ivory Coast cocoa plantations use slave labour. Most are young men and boys from impoverished areas in Benin, Togo and Mali are enticed by traffickers who promise them paid work, housing and an education. Instead, they are sold to Ivory Coast cocoa plantation owners who beat them into submission and offer no pay for grueling, 18-hour days. What does the fair trade label mean? Organizations like the U.K.'s Fair Trade Foundation and TransFair Canada certify products which meet the principles of the fair trade system. Fair trade means products are purchased directly and at a fair price from small family growers and co-operatives that do not rely on hired or illegal forced labour. Growers receive a minimum guaranteed price that covers real production costs, regardless of how low world market prices fall. Fair trade also promotes sustainable agricultural practices which use minimal or no pesticides. On small, family-owned farms, cocoa plants are usually inter-cropped. In contrast, Ivory Coast plantations utilize intensive farming techniques which boosted cocoa production by 95 percent in the 1980s. More and bigger plantations have caused Ivory Coast rainforests to be literally slashed from 12 million hectares in 1960 to 2.6 million hectares today, devastating the area's biodiversity. Every time a chocolate bar is sold, low-income cocoa farmers in Ghana not only receive a fair price for their cocoa beans, but as part owners of the Day Chocolate Company, they receive their share of...
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