/R E P E A T -- Don't let Valentine's chocolate hurt children, urges World Vision/

Feb 12, 2013, 07:00 ET from World Vision Canada - Marketing Communications - Public Relations

- Good Chocolate Guide now available -

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Planning to give chocolates to your Valentine? Show you really care by choosing treats that are free of child labour, urges World Vision, an international development agency that works in countries such as Ghana where children are slaving on cacao plantations.

"The bitter truth is children are doing dirty, dangerous and degrading work in the chocolate industry," says Cheryl Hotchkiss, manager of World Vision's End Child Slavery campaign.

"They get hurt swinging machetes to cut down cacao pods. They get sick from pesticides and toil in extreme heat with little pay, poor nutrition and no health care. They're separated from their families and can even be abused by employers," adds Hotchkiss.

Guilty Pleasure

  • About 95 per cent of chocolate sold worldwide is still not certified to be free of child, forced or trafficked labour.

  • Approximately two million children are involved in cacao farming worldwide, the majority in West Africa.

  • Canadians consume on average 5.5 kg of chocolate each year - the equivalent of nearly 2,600 M & M's.

As part of a global initiative lead by the chocolate industry, most - but not all - large companies have declared they will use only ethical cocoa in all of their products by 2020. However, they are not consistently working with third-party certification organizations, such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ, to monitor and verify that their cocoa is ethical, says World Vision. The agency is currently working on a Chocolate Report Card that will inform Canadians about the chocolate products they consume.

"Child labour in supply chains is not an easy problem to solve. But if public pressure can bring more ethical chocolate to store shelves in Europe, we can use our consumer power to do the same in Canada," says Hotchkiss.

Craving Change?

  1. World Vision's new Good Chocolate Guide lists ethical chocolate brands and products that can be found in many Canadian grocery stores or smaller specialty stores.

  2. Use the new ChocoFinder website and app to find Canadian chocolatiers that sell ethical products. The app is available for free through the iTunes App store.

  3. Enter World Vision's #GoodChocolateGiveaway on Twitter to win a basket of ethical chocolates.

  4. Learn more about child labour in the chocolate industry.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca

SOURCE World Vision Canada - Marketing Communications - Public Relations

Image with caption: "Approximately ninety-five per cent of chocolate sold globally is not certified to be free of child, forced, or trafficked labour. This Valentine's Day, check out World Vision's Good Chocolate Guide to find ethical options for loved ones. (CNW Group/World Vision Canada - Marketing Communications - Public Relations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130212_C3679_PHOTO_EN_23392.jpg