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Understanding Why Fair Trade is “Slave-Free” Chocolate

Understanding Why Fair Trade is “Slave-Free” Chocolate

Understanding Why Fair Trade is “Slave-Free” Chocolate: How Chuao Chocolatier Champions Ethical Practices

guest post by ashley schuering -

In recent years, consumers have become more aware of the impact their purchasing decisions have on the world, and in turn, have demanded more transparency regarding the ethics of the companies they support. Chuao has always sourced ethically sourced chocolate, so we love that! 

But with all kinds of terminology flying around, it’s hard to know what is real and what is just a marketing ploy. So, what do the terms "fair trade chocolate" and "slavery-free chocolate" actually mean? Let’s dive in:

What is fair trade chocolate?

“fair trade” is a comprehensive certification that prioritizes equitable treatment for farmers and workers, sustainable environmental practices, and transparent business relationships. The standards are quite rigorous—you can read them in full here

To better understand what fair trade standards entail, here’s the TL;DR: 

  • Prohibition of exploitative child labor & slavery: Unfortunately, slavery in the chocolate industry is quite widespread. In other words, not all chocolate companies are ethical chocolate companies. By definition, all fair trade chocolate is slave-free chocolate. When you support fair trade producers like Chuao, you’re helping eradicate chocolate slavery and ensuring all the hands that went into making your chocolate bar are paid fairly.
  • Safe worker conditions: fair trade standards require that workers have access to clean water, shade, adequate breaks, safely functioning machinery/equipment, sufficient first aid in the event of an injury, and personal protective gear to prevent injury in the first place. 
    • Gender equality: fair trade standards mandate that women are safe and equally represented in the workplace. This includes prohibiting sexual harassment and gender discrimination in hiring and pay, demanding women-specific working conditions like maternity leave and safe spaces for breastfeeding, and ensuring women are adequately represented in fair trade committees. 
    • fair trade minimum price & premiums: fair trade certified cocoa farmers receive a guaranteed minimum price for their products, which protects them from volatile market fluctuations and ensures that farmers can cover their average costs of sustainable production. In addition to the minimum price, producers of fair trade chocolate receive a 15% premium for “community development funds” to invest in their community or grow their business. 
    • Traceability & Transparency: Do you know where your chocolate comes from? We do! fair trade requires rigorous record-keeping to ensure that products can be traced from the cocoa farm all the way to the grocery shelves. 
    • Environmental sustainability standards: to be considered fair trade, producers must adhere to rigorous environmentally protective standards. This includes limiting when and what types of fertilizers and pesticides can be used, prohibiting deforestation and land degradation, and encouraging practices that benefit biodiversity. 
    • fair trade standards do not only apply to cocoa farmers but also to the brands that use these products (like Chuao!). When you buy chocolate that is certified fair trade, you know that the entire supply chain has adhered to fair and sustainable practices.

      Who decides what is considered fair trade?

      fair trade certification is provided by third-party organizations such as fair trade USA and  fairtrade International, which audits and certifies that certain standards are met. In case you’re still skeptical, Fair Trade USA is part of the ISEAL Alliance, which ensures their certification process follows the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Standard Setting

      ISEAL is an organization that works to ensure that certification schemes are credible and effective—not just marketing tactics. This process involves consulting with a diverse range of stakeholders—think farmers and workers, local governing bodies, subject-matter experts, businesses, and non-profit organizations—to ensure comprehensiveness and inclusivity.

      Chuao Chocolatier's Commitment to Fair Trade

      Since its inception, Chuao Chocolatier has been a staunch advocate for ethical sourcing practices. We believe that for chocolate to taste good, it needs to be both the highest quality, and perhaps more importantly, made with love. 

      In our book, ethical sourcing goes beyond fair wages and safe working conditions. It encompasses environmental sustainability, community development, and the overall well-being of the workers involved. For Chuao Chocolatier, this means partnering with cocoa producers who are committed to creating a more just and sustainable world.

      FAQs about fair trade vs slave-free chocolate

      Is Chuao Chocolate slave free?

      Yes, Chuao Chocolatier chocolate is slave free. By sourcing Fair Trade Certified™ cocoa, we ensure that all of our products are made without the use of forced labor and that workers are treated fairly and ethically.

      Is organic chocolate slave free?

      Organic certification focuses on environmentally sustainable farming practices but does not guarantee fair labor conditions. Make sure to look for the fair trade certification mark to ensure the chocolate you buy is made without slave labor.

      Why is Fair Trade chocolate more expensive?

      fair trade chocolate often costs more because it reflects the true cost of ethical production. This includes paying fair wages to farmers, investing in community development, implementing sustainable farming practices, and eschewing terrible practices like slavery. 

      How confident can I be that Fair Trade chocolate is actually fair for producers?

      fair trade certification involves rigorous auditing and compliance checks by independent organizations. While no system is perfect, fair trade certification provides a high level of assurance that the chocolate you buy supports ethical practices.

      Want to support Fair Trade? Join Us!

      When you buy fair trade certified chocolate from brands like Chuao, you’re directly contributing to the well-being of cocoa farmers and their communities, helping to ensure they receive fair compensation and work under humane conditions. Join us in making a positive impact on the world and enjoy delicious chocolate that makes a difference! 

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