While cocoa is sourced from several regions around the world, West Africa is the largest producer, making up 70% of the world’s cocoa. The West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire alone grows 40% of the global supply of cocoa, with Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria being the other major producers in the region. Cocoa farmers typically live in poverty, and, as a result, instances of forced labor, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labor are found too often on cocoa farms in West Africa.
The Payson Center at Tulane University, in its 2009 Assessment of Child Labor in the Cocoa Supply Chain in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, found that children are frequently involved in weeding, plucking cocoa pods, gathering and heaping cocoa pods, and other cocoa growing activities. They also reported that 15 percent of children surveyed reported forced or involuntary work in the past twelve months. In addition, they found that nearly 50 percent of children working in cocoa farming in Cote d’Ivoire and over 50 percent in Ghana reported injuries from their work in the past year.
Fair Trade chocolate, however, fights child labor and the extreme poverty and exploitation of cocoa workers by lifting farmers out of poverty, paying them a fair wage, and protecting children from harmful working conditions on cocoa farms.
S'Mores are a symbol of the fun and freedom of summer for children, and that freedom should extend to all children, everywhere. It's time Cosi switched to Fair Trade chocolate for their s'mores.
As you may know, child labor, trafficking, forced labor, and other abuses are rampant in the cocoa industry. Over 70% of the world's cocoa comes from countries with serious child labor, trafficking, and forced labor problems, making the chances that traditional chocolate is contaminated with abuses high.
Fair Trade certified chocolate, on the other hand, gives farmers a fair wage and helps prevent child labor, trafficking, and forced labor in the cocoa industry.
Cosi believes that "life should be delicious," and as a Cosi customer, I think that motto should extend to the children in West Africa in the cocoa industry. Please switch to Fair Trade certified chocolate for your s'mores and make life delicious for children all over the world.