Recently, several of my legal friends have been discussing the problem with buying unethically produced chocolate for the holidays. Unfortunately, around the world, many of the major chocolate producers use cocoa beans gathered through the use of child labor.
Using children to do work for lower costs is wrong on so many levels and completely unnecessary. Now, I fully support kids learning how to become adults through simple, child-friendly jobs. For example: babysitting, mowing yards, having a newspaper route, helping around the family business, shoveling snow.
What I do not support is major industrial companies using the poverty of third-world countries to unethically and immorally encourage children to drop out of school and work in conditions that are completely illegal in the United States. As a teacher of Business Ethics and Corporate Governance, one of the great issues that globalization has caused is that it allows international companies to pick and choose where to manufacture and thus avoid the legal standards of work and health safety.
With so many people in the work field looking for jobs, the devastating impact these jobs have on the children, the unethical underhanded dealings of this type of business ~ the use of child labor needs to end. However, the companies that participate in this type of behavior are only interested in profits. So they are unlikely to stop the practice until it no longer benefits them to do so.
How do we take away their profits? By not consuming their products!
So take a moment and do your own research. Find companies that do not use child labor in their chocolate production when you buy your holiday candy this year. You might check out the article “Ethical Chocolate Companies.” While I have not verified the information in their list, others claim they are legitimate. Note that the major producers – Mars, Hershey’s, Nestle, and Godiva – are not on this list!
Companies that ignore or subvert the law will listen when their buyers speak out. So take a stand against the despicable practice of child labor this Valentine’s Day and share the power of love for our world.