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Monday, November 05, 2007

Enslaved by chocolate: addiction or exploitation?

OK, dear Reader, time to experiment with the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword. Dust off those ethical thoughts. Chocolate and the child slaves who produce it is the issue. For more extensive information, please go here and here.

You might, dear Reader, like to start with the following:
Cadbury Consumer Services, PO Box 200, Ringwood VIC 3134

Feedback link is here.

Are you interested, dear Reader, in doing a factory tour with Miss Eagle during which we can ask the question on the premises about where Cadbury's cocoa comes from and what they are doing about the exploitation of children? Currently, it would appear that their website is concerned only with obesity in children. But there are children involved in the chocolate process who will never grow fat - even though they might never go out to play!

Consumer Services Department, GPO Box 4320, Sydney NSW 2001

You can email Nestle from here.

As you would be aware, dear Reader, Nestle has been the focus in the past for the promotion of breast milk substitutes in Africa. You will find them expounding their corporate philosophy of Good Food, Good Life here. A portion of Nestle's website is devoted to a discussion about coffee. You might like, in your correspondence, to ask them about their attitude to Fair Trade coffee. There is no mention of that on their site.

Mars Australia, Wodonga (Australian Headquarters), Petcare Place, Wodonga Vic 3690

Snackfood/Mars, PO Box 633, Ballarat VIC 3353 - Ballarat Ring Rd 3350

You can email Mars from here.

On the Mars site, there is this section, The 5 Principles. Mmmm....
  • Quality: this segment says : "The consumer is the boss". So, dear Reader, use your consumer power to tell Mars who is the boss and that you do not want your love of chocolate to hold other human beings to ransom.

  • Responsibility: Mars said it recruits ethical people. Challenge them to put their ethics on show in relation to child labour and child slavery.

  • Mutuality: Mars says its "actions should never be at the expense, economic or otherwise, of others with whom we work". Now Miss Eagle understands that the child slaves are not direct employees of Mars but they are stakeholders in the industry nonetheless. Without companies such as Mars there might not be a cocoa industry to be exploitative. So Mars needs to put its actions in the ethical framework of how do we expect all children to live and enjoy life.

  • Efficiency: Here Mars talks about its pursuit of "the least possible cost". To the child slaves there is a very high cost - loss of childhood development, loss of education. The least possible financial cost should not require the exploitation of sentient beings or the despoliation of the planet.

  • Freedom: Mars claims for itself "We need freedom to shape our future: we need profit to remain free." Well, guess what! So do African children. Enslavement - even if it is the only hope for survival in an environment of despairing poverty - does not provide freedom and does not bring any profit to the people so that they can remain free of exploitative practices. The Christian adage of doing unto others as you would have done unto you needs to be extended by Mars to the poverty stricken people caught up in the cocoa economy to provide luxury goods for those with great economic freedom.

And then there is the industry body to contact, too:

Confectionery Manufacturers of AustralasiaConfectionery Manufacturers of Australasia,PO Box 1307 (Level 2, 689 Burke Rd),Camberwell VIC 3124

Email Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia (CMA) at

When you have completed this task, dear Reader, you might like to keep Miss Eagle informed.