Explore Coverage

Organic Insider

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic — Child Labor and Sustainability Issues with Many Conventional Chocolate Brands

For many of us when we eat a piece of chocolate, our biggest concern is how many grams of sugar we are consuming.

Yet, how often do we ask ourselves — was this chocolate bar made with the help of child labor? Or, was the cocoa produced in a way that resulted in deforestation to the environment?

The truth about cocoa – the main ingredient in chocolate – is quite grim.

According to the US Department of Labor, more than 2 million children in Ghana and the Ivory Coast work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa. And while some companies have begun tracing their supply chains to prevent child labor, the vast majority of the 3 million tons of cocoa produced each year come from small farms in West Africa, where farmers and their children live on less than $1 per day.

Additionally, in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, 90% of their forests have been lost, and much of that deforestation was caused by the largest cocoa companies.

To help consumers understand which chocolate companies are sourcing in an ethical, environmentally-responsible way and which ones are not, Green America has unveiled its latest version of its Chocolate Scorecard.

Not surprisingly, the organic brands came out on top (almost all of them received A scores) while the largest conventional brands received C, D and F grades on the Chocolate Scorecard.

What is important to note is that aside from the USDA organic seal, there are many other certifications widely used in chocolate, such as Fairtrade, Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance.

According to Green America, however, certification programs alone are not enough to solve the underlying issues that contribute to child labor in cocoa, including farmer poverty and a lack of infrastructure. As such, the scorecard looks beyond commitments about certified chocolate to identify programs that support farmers and address child labor when it is found.

Furthermore, chocolate bars that are not certified organic may use toxic pesticides or fungicides, which not only harm the health of consumers but that of farmers as well.

So, the next time you buy a chocolate bar, remember that you aren’t just giving yourself an indulgence.

You are making a statement about what kind of company you want to financially support.

ORGANIC BRANDS THAT RECEIVED VERY HIGH SCORES ON THE CHOCOLATE SCORECARD 

Alter Eco

Equal Exchange

Shaman

Theo Chocolate

Guittard

A message from E3Live

"My Everyday, Must-Have Green Organic Aquabotanical"

The best testimonial that I can give is that I drink this every single day, as it impacts my mood in an incredibly positive way.

E3Live + BrainON is certified organic, fresh-frozen AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) with a concentrated, aqueous, organic extract of Phenylethylamine and Phycocyanin.

Learn more.

Go deeper

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Support Organic — Organic “Hotspots” Significantly Boost Local Economies

While there are many reasons why we should support organic food, we now have yet another one: organic boosts local economies.

In a new study by the Organic Trade Association called U.S Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies, it has been found that organic food and crop production – and the business activities accompanying organic agriculture – creates real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities.

Go deeper Arrow

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Support Organic – The 59 Pesticide Residues Found in Our Water Supply

When people talk about organic food, we mostly focus on the importance of eating food that is free of synthetic chemicals, genetically-modified ingredients and artificial growth hormones.

Yet, what we also need to be mentioning is that conventionally-grown food means that our soil is getting sprayed with an astronomical amount of toxic pesticides, which ends up polluting our public water supply.

According to the EPA, we use about 1.1 billion pounds of chemicals per year, 80% of which are used for agricultural purposes.

And what impact has this had on the quality of our public water supply?

Go deeper Arrow

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

My Latest Concoction – Organic Black Sesame Seed Milk

Earlier this year, I wrote a post talking about the tremendous health benefits of black sesame seeds.

I love putting them on quinoa, millet, and on my salads, and they add a whole new dimension to whatever food that I am eating.

Since Brazil nut milk and cashew milk are two drinks that I make quite often, I started asking myself “What if I made a milk out of organic black sesame seeds?”

My immediate thought was that the taste would be too harsh or too strong, and that I would need to use a lot of honey or organic palm sugar to even it out.

Over the past week or so, I have been experimenting with black sesame seed milk and much to my surprise, I have been thrilled with the results.

Go deeper Arrow
livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink