Food Empowerment Project publishes a list of companies that sell chocolates that we do and do not recommend. To make our list they have to make some vegan chocolates.
- To help people buy chocolate that does not involve the exploitation of human (children or adults) or non-human animals (such as cows and goats).
- To make sure consumers are informed about where companies stand on the issue.
- To encourage consumers to contact the companies and let them know how they feel!
Understanding our list
The list is made up of several categories:
The first category is pretty simple. These are companies that make some (if not all) vegan chocolates. They have responded to our request for information about the country of origin for their cacao beans, and the beans were not sourced from areas in Western Africa where child labor and slavery is pervasive. If they source from Western Africa, they are worker-owned cooperatives and have been vetted by us.
These are companies that are sourcing in Ghana but have created programs and are trying to do things in the most ethical way. We will be keeping you informed on their progress, but for now, we want to give them the benefit of the doubt.
These are companies that we know have been implicated in sourcing their cacao from farms located in areas where child labor and slavery are most pervasive.
If they are using fair trade chocolate, then why aren’t they listed on our recommended list? It is unfortunate, but there has been child labor found at fair trade cooperatives; to their credit they did get the children into school.
The fact that child labor was found on these “certified” farms gives us reason to be concerned; therefore, we do not feel comfortable recommending them at this time. We acknowledge this might change, but for now, this is how they rank on our list.
Cannot recommend but at least responded.
We list the companies that responded honestly but don’t make our list as they source from areas where the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, are the most pervasive.
Cannot recommend: companies that would not disclose their supplier (no transparency for customers).
Cannot recommend: companies that did not respond.
As simple as that. They did not respond to our request. We encourage consumers to reach out to their favorite company if they see them listed here.
How do we contact the companies?
Food Empowerment Project emails the companies requesting where they get their cacao beans. If there is no response, another email is sent after two weeks – forwarding the original request. After another week passes, the two reminders are sent again, this time with a link to our list, letting them know they will go on our non-response list if we do not hear back. After a week with no response, we put them on our website. If the response is “Switzerland,” “USA” or some other non-cacao-producing country known for its chocolate, another email is sent reminding them we are talking about the beans, not the chocolate.
We attempt to update our list (which is also available as an app) once a month.
We encourage people from all over the globe to send us the names of companies that make vegan chocolate products that are not already on our list; we will look into the company to see where they should be placed on our list.