Fair Trade Chocolate | Teen Ink

Fair Trade Chocolate

December 18, 2009
By sldkfja GOLD, Sdflkjdfl, Pennsylvania
sldkfja GOLD, Sdflkjdfl, Pennsylvania
17 articles 6 photos 39 comments

Did you know an estimated 40 percent of chocolate is slave grown and that hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest have been lost due to the business? You have the power to change this. You can buy fair trade chocolate. Fair Trade is a classification that a company can obtain when it aligns with certain requirements such as paying workers a fair price, banning the use of toxic pesticides, banning child labor, and sustainably harvesting their coco beans. By buying fair trade chocolate, you can bring farmers out of poverty, ensure safe working conditions, and help save the planet.
Coco beans grow in parts of South America and Africa. The workers who harvest them live in deep poverty. Part of the reason for this is the price that they get for their beans. Since it is their only source of livelihood, they take whatever they can get. Ever wondered why a large chocolate bar at the store is only a dollar when it has traveled so far? This is why. The large chocolate producing companies are trying to make the biggest profit they can. For us in the US, to buy chocolate it has to be cheap. But when the companies bring down the prices here, they aren’t making as much of a profit. To compensate for selling the chocolate for less, they must pay their workers less. Since these workers are living in a third world country, there are no such thing as a minimal wage or worker’s rights law. Fair trade companies pay their workers a certain humane minimum level. They aren’t allowed to lower this price.
As with wages, there are hardly any laws pertaining to the humane working conditions in the countries where coco beans are being harvested. Many chocolate companies are using harsh pesticides that are banned here in the US to keep the coco plants free of bugs, and make them grow better. One of the big down sides to these chemicals is that that they don’t just kill the bugs, but they also hurt the humans who are working with them. They can cause extreme allergic reactions and fatal respiratory illnesses. The workers don’t wear any protective gloves or masks because they can’t afford them, and the companies are making no move to help. Many large coco companies don’t put any measures into place to make sure that the workers are protected from these chemicals. Because of this most of the conditions in which coco is grown, is not safe or humane. To get the Fair Trade certification, companies must improve these conditions and take responsibility for their workers’ health.
Hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest have been lost due to the chocolate industry. Most chocolate companies are using toxic chemicals that are polluting the water and air, and they are making no move to educate their workers about sustainable practices. Fair Trade companies are committed to ecological practices and sustainable industry. They have many programs in place to help with reforestation and similar issues. To get the Fair Trade status companies must also have programs to teach the workers what they can do to help their ecosystem and why they should care.
Buying Fair Trade can bring workers out of poverty, keep people happy, and help save the planet. It is such a simple step that you can take, and yet it can have a huge impact on many lives. Buying Fair Trade is the moral thing to do. There is no reason that you shouldn’t attempt to take this simple yet effective measure. It doesn’t even costs more than the average gourmet chocolate and tastes just as great. You can help change the world!

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This article has 1 comment.

NettieHood18 said...
on Jun. 16 2013 at 4:40 am
If you are willing to buy real estate, you will have to get the loan. Furthermore, my brother all the time uses a car loan, which occurs to be the most reliable.