Slave-free Chocolate – Brands You Can Trust

There’s been a lot of interest in my previous postings about slavery and chocolate. Depending on where you are, finding fair trade certified chocolate (which is always slave-free) is not always easy. I just learned from my handy Better World Shopping Guide that the following brands of chocolate are all slave-free. Some are fair trade, some are organic, some are both or neither, but they are all slave-free. Hope this helps those of you socially conscious chocolate lovers having a hard time finding fair trade chocolate where you are.

Slave-free chocolate brands:

  • Equal Exchange (Whole Foods, New Seasons)
  • Endangered Species (Whole Foods, Target, New Seasons)
  • Rapunzel (Whole Foods)
  • Dagoba (at most Oregon grocery stores)
  • Green and Black’s (available at Target!)
  • Newman’s Own (New Seasons, Whole Foods)
  • Cloud Nine
  • Tropical Source (New Season’s, Whole Foods)
  • Shaman
  • Any fair-trade certified brands (look for the black and white Transfair logo)
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26 Comments

  1. Heather C said,

    June 7, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Endangered Species and Equal Exchange are the best in my opinion. I love Equal Exchange :)

  2. jay said,

    July 19, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Can somebody tell me if Hotel Chocolat is slave made?

    While we are at it, I read things saying Fairtrade is not always fair because some producers of cocoa, coffee etc do not pay fair wages making certification meaningless. I don’t know if I should still buy fairtrade. Can anyone offer any helpful advice?

  3. Beth said,

    July 19, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Hi Jay, I’m not familiar with that brand of chocolate but, according to the company website, they are a single origin chocolate producer and have their own cocoa plantations. While not a guarantee, working closely with farmers and being actively engaged plus explictly stating their commitment to ethics is far beyond what the mega- chocolate companies do. By and large the small, high-quality producers are not engaged in slave labor to my knowledge.

    http://www.hotelchocolat.co.uk/cid/FSRPTIUS8TXCVUTF648A1UNX6YJE4PBX/rabot-estate-cocoa-plantation-st-lucia-Arabot_home/

    I’m not aware of incidences of fair trade certified companies not actually engaging in fair trade practices. I would refer you to reputable certifying organizations such as transfair (http://www.transfairusa.org) or the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (http://www.fairtrade.net/) for more information on how you can be assured the brands you buy are truly fair trade. Thanks for reading.

    Beth

  4. makahla said,

    May 3, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Hi. I was wondering if you knew if the following brands were fair trade of not:
    -Dilettante Chocolates
    -Dove Chocolate
    -Lindt
    -Ghirardelli
    -Storck
    -Bartons
    -Ritter Sport
    -Brookside
    -Starbucks
    -Ben and Jerrys
    If you could let me know about those it would save me hours of research! Thank you!

    • Beth said,

      May 12, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      I’m not aware of any of these brands being fair trade, I’m sorry to say.

      • Beth said,

        June 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm

        I take that back – Ben and Jerry’s does use fair trade chocolate in some of their ice cream flavors. Look for the Transfair USA logo on the front.

    • Bret Wright said,

      October 17, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      Yes, Ritter Sport buys fair trade cocoa for its products.

    • Vanessa said,

      November 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      Lindt, Starbucks, and Dove are fair traid I”‘m sure. However, I know for a fact that Ben and Jerry’s is not. The rest I’m not sure of.

      • Beth said,

        November 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm

        Vanessa, I am not aware of Lindt, Starbucks or Dove making any variety of fair trade chocolate. Ben and Jerry’s has some varieties of ice cream that uses fair trade certified ingredients. You would want to look for the black and white fair trade certified logo to know for certain. Beth

  5. Farida said,

    May 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    My site is in Dutch and English
    Here you can find slave free chocolate, that is also very healthy for anyone. It is not for sale in shops, but distributed by network marketing
    see also next links:

    http://mydrchocolate.soundconcepts.com/goodbad.htm

  6. Rachel said,

    June 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I have also read that Theo Chocolate (www.theochocolate.com) is fair-trade. Could you verify this for me? I was wondering why it wasn’t included on your list. Thanks!

  7. cpcable said,

    July 14, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Thanks for the handy list! I wonder, however, at your inclusion of Dagoba, which is owned by Hershey. While Dagoba is certified fair trade, Hershey is not and by buying Dagoba, aren’t we supporting Hershey and their exploitative practices, albeit in a round-about manner? I’m curious to read your thoughts!

    • Beth said,

      July 14, 2009 at 9:50 am

      I know, I struggle with the same thought. Should I support the ethical practices of companies like Hershey’s who have other elements that are not ethical (Hershey’s has been accused numerous times of using slave and/ or child labor in their cocoa plantations)? It’s akin to buying organic and/ or fair trade products at Wal-mart. I never shop at Wal-mart because of their exploitative labor practices but, in some communities, there are few or no other shopping choices. If that’s someone’s situation then choosing the organic/ fair trade option at Wal-mart is probably better than the conventional. Same with Dagoba – it’s much more readily available than some of the other fair trade brands, so if it’s the only choice you have by all means buy it over Nestle or Hershey’s other, non-fair trade lines. But if are so lucky to live somewhere (like here in Portland, Oregon) where there are dozens of other options, such as fabulous Theo chocolate made in Seattle and 100% fair trade, give preference to those purely fair trade companies. I’d love to hear other readers thoughts.

      By the way, all Dagoba chocolate is organic but it’s not all fair trade. Look for the little Transfair fair trade logo on the bars to find the fair trade flavors.

  8. Jo-Lee said,

    August 2, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    hi, ive only just found out about the chocolate not being fair-trade. its a good thing i did coz these kids shouldnt be made to do it. it was at a S.U camp where i had a frend tell me about this site. i cant say how awesome it is to c there is somehting being done for these kids. im that we could get a whole heap of people to keep bying fairtrade, but also if they would be able to donate a few dollars a week to go towards a refuge for the kids in slavery. would u b able to giv me some advice?

  9. Becky said,

    October 1, 2009 at 4:57 am

    Hi. A friend just told me that a Dove representative told her that they use only specific cocoa beans that do not come from plantations using child slave labor. I’m not sure I believe her. Have you heard anything about this?

    • Beth said,

      October 16, 2009 at 10:10 am

      I’m sorry I don’t know specifics about this. That would certainly be great if they did but often times it seems corporations don’t really know what’s going on where they source their resources like cocoa beans. The only way to be sure is to buy fair-trade certified chocolate, of which there are plenty of readily available brands out there.

  10. Kate said,

    November 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I also have to recommend Divine Chocolate http://www.divinechocolateusa.com/
    as an excellent fair-trade option. I heard the Executive Director speak recently at a conference for global donors. Divine is co-owned by the cocoa farmers in Ghana.

  11. Carmen Sipes said,

    January 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Interesting, I was just learning about this in one of my college classes this week, and am now pushing my family and friends to buy fair trade and slave free chocolate. A couple more brands are “Vosges” (which is organic, meaning none of their cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast)
    And yes, Ben and Jerry’s is slavery free Chocolate as well. (Go them!)

  12. Susie said,

    April 2, 2010 at 3:44 am

    What about the chocolates one can get at Trader Joes? Their own packaged brand? I know they don’t have the fairtrade labeling and not all of their chocolates are organic – I don’t want to be supporting slavery any more if that’s the case. How can I research the origins of different chocolate products?

  13. Christine said,

    July 2, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Theo Chocolate in Seattle has great slave free chocolate.

  14. sarah said,

    January 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I contacted Ghirardelli which is owned by Lindt and they said that
    “Lindt & Spr√ľngli is extremely concerned about possible practices of child labour and can assure you that we condemn any abusive practices. This is one of the reasons why we do not source cocoa beans from Ivory Coast.”
    and
    “Within the scope of this project, Lindt & Spr√ľngli pays an extra-fee for its cocoa beans from Ghana to a specially for this purpose created foundation named “Traceable Foundation”, which in turn allocates the money via a non-profit organization called “Source Trust” (www.sourcetrust.org) to target-oriented social projects such as the development of regional infrastructure and the continuous improvement of cocoa quality in the regions where the cocoa beans come from. ”

    So I feel good about them being safe. I am looking into Brookside chocolates myself right now (mentioned by a PP). They belong to the World Cocoa foundation…but from what I can tell teh WCF does not ensure slave free chocolate.

  15. FvO said,

    February 15, 2011 at 11:18 am

    There was a TV show in Holland who investigated the whole thing and even fairtrade chocolate does not mean it’s slave free!

    Yes, farm owners can get paid well, but what they pay the people who work for them we don’t know.

    Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWzJR5KfdMc

  16. Caraah said,

    October 11, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    In response to makahla’s post, I know from my mentor, who works for Free the Children, a Canadian organization aimed at ending child labor and
    poverty, and who is an expert in child and human rights, that Ghiradelli,
    Godiva, Dove, Mars, Hershey’s, and Nestle all produce slave chocolate.

    Lindt does not outsource to the Ivory Coast, a hubub of child slavery, but they do outsource to other areas where slave labor is prevalent.
    I believe Starbucks is selectively fair trade (their espresso is slave free), much like Ben and Jerry’s.

    I hope this helps!

  17. Vanessa said,

    November 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Are Andes Mints fair trade?

    • Beth said,

      November 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      No, they are not. As mentioned below in my other response, look for the black and white fair trade certified logo to know if a product you are buying contains fair trade ingredients.


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