What’s in your Easter Eggs?
Australian NGO Be Slavery Free is urging Australian consumers to buy Easter eggs from companies that address human rights concerns.
Be Slavery Free joined the US-based Mighty Earth and Green America to publish an Easter scorecard, analysing 13 major chocolate companies and eight cocoa suppliers against criteria including child labour practice, sustainability, and living income for farmers.
Fuzz Kitto is the National Co-Director of Be Slavery Free. He said the best performer available in Australia was New Zealand-owned company Whittaker’s. The company received the ‘Golden Egg’ award for its efforts.
“Chocolate maker, Godiva, was given ‘Rotten Egg Award’ for lack of responsibility by the company in all areas which are considered best practices in protecting the environment, ending child labour and moving towards a living income for farmers,” Mr Kitto said.
An estimated 2.1 million children are in child labour in cocoa, almost all found to endure hazardous conditions and a form on modern slavery, according to researchers at Tulane University and as defined under the Australian Modern Slavery Act.
Australians typically spend more than $200 million on chocolate over Easter. According to Mr Kitto, only six percent goes to the farmers living in poverty.
“No parent or grandparent wants to give their children chocolate which other children suffered in the making of. We urge consumers to make a difference by buying from companies that are trying to do the right thing.”
“Pledges made have been hollow. Nonetheless, what the new scorecard shows is that businesses are recognising that they cannot solve these issues alone.”
Seventy-five percent of responding companies publicly support mandatory due diligence for the industry as is being introduced by the European Union and being discussed in the US.
“Companies are also starting to address child labour with all but two companies now having a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System. This shift has been seen in the last five years,” Mr Kitto said.