Facts about Fair Trade and the Cocoa Industry

International Cocoa Trade:

* The International Cocoa Organization, or ICCO, estimates that there are approximately 14 million people directly involved in cocoa production.

* Globally, 6.6 billion pounds of cocoa were produced in the 99/00 harvest season.

* According to the European Fair Trade Association, farmers get barely 5 percent of the profit from chocolate, whereas trading organizations and the chocolate industry receive about 70 percent. This means that producers get only 5 cents from every dollar spent on chocolate, while the companies get 70 cents – 14 times more!

West African Cocoa Trade:

* America is the world’s largest chocolate consumer. In 2000, the US imported 729,000 tons of cocoa beans/processed products, ate 3.3 billion pounds of chocolate and spent $13 billion on it.

* A 1998 report from UNICEF stated that some Ivory Coast farmers use child slaves, many from poor neighboring countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo.

* A June 15, 2001 document released by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Labor Organization reported that trafficking in children is widespread in West Africa.

* A 2002 joint study published by the ILO and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture found an estimated 284,000 children in cocoa farms in West Africa were “either involved in hazardous work, unprotected or unfree, or have been trafficked.”

* West African economies are critically dependent on cocoa. Cocoa revenues account for more than 33% of Ghana’s total export earnings and 40% of the Ivory Coast’s total export earnings.

Fair Trade:

* The Fair Trade Certified production criteria guarantee a minimum price and insure that no child or forced labor is used. The criteria also stipulate that farmers’ organizations should be organized democratically, and that plantation workers should be able to participate in trade union activities. Fair Trade producers are monitored at least once a year.

* In 2000, Fair Trade cooperatives produced 89 million pounds of cocoa, but only 3 million pounds were sold at Fair Trade prices.

Mars Corporation and Wheaton:

*M&M/Mars (with Hershey’s) control two-thirds of the U.S. chocolate market, which generated $13 billion from retail sales of 3.1 billion pounds of chocolate in 2001.

*Both companies import cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast, which, as the largest cocoa producer in the world, provides almost half the cocoa beans that end up in America.

*The Mars family is Wheaton College’s largest donor.

*Mars Inc. has repeatedly refused to pay a fair trade price for cocoa imports.

*We are benefiting from the labor practices of Mars Inc. and therefore, we have a responsibility to address these issues.

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