Halloween is right around the corner, and to many that means one thing: chocolate, and lots of it. According to the National Confectioners Association, chocolate makes up 72 percent of all candy spending on Halloween. Last year’s profits for the industry topped $12.6 billion in the U.S. alone.
Globally, cocoa production rakes in $50 billion per year, with the U.S. as its largest importer, followed by Europe. Africa is the world’s primary supplier of chocolate, contributing up to 70 percent to the global market.
While chocolate may seem like a glorious thing, there are a number of problems associated with cocoa production. These include:
- Child labor violations
- Human trafficking
- Toxic pesticide use that endangers workers and the environment
- Physical injuries to workers from deep cuts to, in some cases, beatings
- Deforestation (an estimated 50 percent of forests have been cut down just for cocoa production)
So what can you do? Instead of opting for unknown origin chocolate this Halloween and at any other time of the year, choose chocolate from sustainable sources like Fair Trade USA and Rainforest Alliance Certified bars and cocoa. Chocolate certified by these sources (and other similar organizations) guarantee that both farmers and the environment are receiving better treatment from providing fair wages to workers to using almost totally organic farming methods.
Now, we’d like to introduce you to Adrian Koffi Kouadio, who works as a smallholder cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire. Get to know him and where real sustainable cocoa comes from.