Tuesday, 21 May 2024
    Fair Share: Ethical Chocolate Procurement in an Unfair World
    Social, ethical

    Fair Share: Ethical Chocolate Procurement in an Unfair World

    Cacao prices are soaring as more than two-thirds of the world's cocoa supply, which comes from West Africa, has been impacted by considerable climatic challenges for growers 

    However, some manufacturers have wanted to keep prices down to make more profit, raising alarm bells that remind us of cacao’s foul history of unfair pay, child labour, slavery, and unsustainable farming practices, such as deforestation. 

    With cocoa prices tripling over a year and production forecasts dismal, the burden falls on consumers and producers alike. Lisa Ruffell, a chocolate shop owner, reflects a sentiment shared by many chocoholics: "If you love chocolate, the price doesn't really matter." Yet, beyond personal indulgence lies a complex web of social and environmental responsibility.

    The surge in cocoa prices not only reflects climatic challenges but also the broader costs of procurement. Gabriel Myburgh, a chocolatier, notes that cocoa forms only a fraction of the production expenses, with transport, packaging, and other inputs also contributing significantly. 

    Professor John Dumay highlights, the current model perpetuates a "wicked problem" where low farmer wages incentivise unsustainable practices. However, initiatives like the Chocolate Scorecard aim to rank producers based on sustainability criteria, fostering a shift towards fairer practices. As supporters of social and ethical procurement practices, we celebrate and support these efforts by industry leaders and suppliers to promote transparency in the market.  

    Pia Piggott from Rabobank anticipates a future where chocolate prices continue to rise, driven by inflation and the imperative to address ethical concerns. This calls for a reevaluation of our relationship with chocolate, where paying a fair price ensures not just the indulgence of the present but the sustainability of future generations.

    In a world where fairness is scarce, perhaps the true sweetness of chocolate lies not just in its taste but in the ethical footprint it leaves behind. 

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-29/chocolate-prices-rise-easter-african-drought-sustainability-push/103638592