Slave free chocolate, global value chains and delicious ‘Chocolonely’
Hazel Henderson makes the connection between slave labor and diamond mining!
Slave labour is still part of some global value chains. Chocolate is an example. It can be shown and measured that in such a case but also in other cases increases in trade can actually lower production and income for countries lower in the chain. Take cocoa farmers who are forced to use extensive imported inputs. But can trade however also be beneficial for suppliers? Alternatives are possible. Chocolonely – an extremist, perfectionist, consumer and producer oriented as well highly succesful producer of slave free chocolate – tries to show this is possible. Using the latest production technology and marketing gimmicks. From the annual report (which contains much, much more information which, by the way, makes you doubt the wisdom of TTIP treaties):
Principle: Follow the cocoa bean
Traceability is an essential step in order to generate real and lasting impact. Almost no chocolate brand in the supermarket knows exactly where, how and by whom their cocoa is produced. And that’s crazy, because it holds true for the vast majority of certified and sustainable cocoa. If you know where cocoa comes from and who made it, you also feel responsible for the circumstances under which it’s made and then you act accordingly.
We set up a wholly segregated cocoa supply chain for our cocoa mass. So it can be done! For three years running we have bought steadily an increasing volume from our partners. In 2015 this was more than 700,000 kilos!
Read More at Real-World Economics Review
Hazel Henderson's Response:
Yes, global supply chains are full of such stories. Slave-free chocolate is the kind of market-based reform that can sometimes change consumer habits. Also see the longstanding issue of conflict diamonds, and the three UN Resolutions attempting to keep such bloodstained gems out of international trade. Unfortunately the diamond cartel and its Kimberley Certification is very weak.
Two responses to strengthen these sanction are Everledger, a blockchain-based distributed ledger that tracks the provenance of mined diamonds for the insurance industry. Another is the EthicMark® GEMS standard which certifies only gems NOT mined from the Earth, and therefore not only conflict-free, but also cruelty-free (hundreds of miners die each year in dangerous gem mining) and environmentally-friendly creations of science in laboratories. These science-created diamonds are, of course, a fraction of the price of those sold by the global diamond cartel and the best are indistinguishable from those mined! (see my article ”Beyond Bloodstained Gems : New Science and standards”. Thus the global gem mining industry is now obsolete and unnecessary. Let’s phase it out!