This post contains a list of all the fairly traded cocoa products we are aware of for sale in New Zealand. To jump straight through to the list, click here, or read on to learn more about the issues first.
Cocoa is what started Just Kai!
Some years ago we were horrified to learn that every time we bought chocolate or other cocoa products we were paying people to enslave children. Children who had been trafficked to work on cocoa farms in West Africa, denied schooling, denied wages and ‘encouraged’ to work by being beaten with bicycle chains. In addition, low cocoa prices seem to drive many families to send their kids out to work, meaning those kids never get an education. Instead, they commonly work 12 hour days and are frequently beaten. It’s hard to get accurate figures of how wide-spread these practises are, but the 2018 Global Slavery Index estimates:
Given that 60% of all cocoa in the world is grown in Ghana and the Ivory coast and 1/3 of the workforce there are children, 1/5th of all cocoa is grown by children. Out of every 10 squares of chocolate you eat, 2 are the product of child labour.
In 2005 many US chocolate companies signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol committing to ending the worst forms of child labour. However, this protocol is non-binding and little has changed. As of 2015, many of the world’s largest chocolate companies are currently facing lawsuits for turning a blind eye to these issues.
Who would want to support all that??!!
The good news is, you don’t have to! You can, instead, choose to only buy fairly traded cocoa, chocolate and other cocoa products. The more consumers who make this choice, the fewer children will be enslaved and the more farmers will receive sufficient wages to be able to afford to send their kids to school.
Whenever you buy anything with cocoa in it, check the label: if it’s marked UTZ, Fairtrade or WFTO it’s fine*. Cocoa grown in Samoa is also fine: perhaps uniquely amongst cocoa growing countries, child labour, forced labour and the unsafe use of agrochemicals do not appear to occur in the cocoa industry there.
To help you find such products, we’ve compiled a list of fairly traded cocoa products currently available in New Zealand. Trade Aid products (which are all WFTO-certified) are mostly sold in their own shops (including their online shop). Many of the other products are widely available in supermarkets, although some are limited to more up-market supermarkets or health food shops. With a a bit of looking, you should be able to find more or less everything your heart desires!
* You can read out comparison of Fairtrade and UTZ certification here. The standards certified by WFTO are very similar to those for Fairtrade International, although the organisational structure required is very different. Trade Aid chooses to certify through WFTO in part as the bulk of their products are hand crafts and Fairtrade International do not currently have standards for those.
last updated: November 2019
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Trade Aid (World Fair Trade Organisation)
KitKat chocolate blocks, all flavours, including:
Countdown own brand blocks:
Note: Nestle milky bars (i.e. their white chocolate) bizarrely don’t contain cocoa butter, so you can buy them without worrying about the ethics of the cocoa supply chain. They taste fine, too :-) Some of their milky bars with ‘bits’ in (e.g. the ‘milk and cookies’ flavour) have cocoa in the bits. None of these are marked UTZ certified, so should be avoided.
Whittakers. NB only these two flavours and only in the 250g blocks - all the rest is made of regular cocoa:
Green and Blacks. NB only these three flavours - all the rest of the range is certified through Cocoa Life, an in-house certification that is much less robust:
Wellington Chocolate Factory, all flavours, including:
Bennetto Chocolate, all flavours (which are also all vegan):
Oxfam (available online):
Note that Pana chocolate has recently withdrawn from Fairtrade certification as of November 2019.
Can have either Fairtrade or UTZ certification
KitKat (UTZ), all flavours, including:
Nestle Aero bars (UTZ) all flavours, which are:
Countdown own brand (UTZ)
West Coast Cocoa (UTZ)
Trade Aid (WFTO):
Countdown Essentials (UTZ):
Countdown own brand (UTZ):
Nestle Baker’s choice (UTZ):
West Coast Cocoa (UTZ):
Devonport Chocolates (Fairtrade):
Pams Superfoods (Fairtrade - NB certification mark not displayed):
Ben and Jerry’s whole range (Fairtrade) including:
Note that Little Island ice creams no longer use fair trade cocoa :-(