If you’re on the lookout for the perfect ethical vegan chocolates to indulge in, there are a few things to keep in mind. Unfortunately, just because a chocolate bar contains no animal products, it doesn’t always mean it was produced ethically. A few problems, such as a lack of sustainability or the use of child labor (or even slave labor), may weigh into the factors that will determine just how ethically your vegan chocolates were made.
Child Labor in The Cocoa Industry
You may have heard that a large amount of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa. However, you may not be aware of the practices used to cultivate this popular crop. Most of the world’s most successful chocolate brands work with farmers who employ or even enslave young children, forcing them to work with sharp and dangerous tools like chainsaws and machetes, deal with toxic chemicals without proper protective gear, and even miss out on their education. This form of labor allows costs to stay low, at the expense of these children’s safety and future.
Even a few brands that boast “Fairtrade” certifications have been found guilty of being involved in these practices. This means that we, as consumers, need to be extra careful about this issue in order to ensure we are supporting brands who value their employees and partners, by providing them with fair wages and safe working conditions.
Deforestation Caused by The Cocoa Industry
West African forests have also suffered at the hands of the cocoa industry. In fact, since the 1960s-70s, the Ivory Coast has lost 80% of its forests — 70% were considered protected areas. Cocoa has been a large contributor to this issue. In fact, at least 30% of the cocoa harvested in the Ivory Coast comes from protected forests.
What to Look For
Now that you’re properly briefed on the main issues plaguing our delicious vegan chocolates, here are some certifications you can look out for to ensure those behind your truffles, coins, or bars are not harming our planet or enslaving innocent children:
As mentioned above, there have been a few “Fairtrade” brands that have been found guilty of violating child labor laws. However, this certification is still one of the only tools we have as consumers to be more confident in the brand we’re supporting.
Certified Organic Label
This label is a good indicator that your vegan chocolate was not produced with toxic pesticides or insecticides, which are killing bees and harming our planet. In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to strive toward all-organic foods in general.
This organization works toward supporting farmers by training them to adopt sustainable methods of agriculture that aid in conservation efforts, and secure a living wage/fair working conditions for their employees.
Top Vegan Chocolate Brands To Look For
Now that we know what to look for when purchasing vegan chocolate, it’s time to take a look at some of the brands that really stood out to us. These vegan chocolate brands are some of the most trustworthy when it comes to working toward a sustainable, ethical future for their partners’ employees and our planet.
Alter Eco’s collection of fairtrade, organic products are widely available at supermarkets, health food stores, and even online. Not only are they avoiding harmful practices for our planet and their employees, but they are also actively working toward improving these issues through their forest preservation, dynamic agroforestry, and mutually beneficial programs. For a yummy animal-free treat, avoid their truffles, grass-fed milk, and any other dairy-containing products. You can find their products here!
If what you need is a gluten free, sugar free, and fairtrade chocolatey treat, ChocZero has you covered. Just make sure to avoid their milk and white chocolates, as well as their chocolate hazelnut spread. Made with their special monk-fruit formula, these keto-friendly treats are just as decadent as conventional chocolates! Ready to sink your teeth into some ChocZero? Find your new favorite here.
Organic, fairtrade, vegan chocolates, anyone? Not only are Eating Evolved’s bars all 100% plant-based, they are gluten-free, contain no refined sugar, and are almost all paleo-friendly! Take care of your body and our planet by getting your hands on a bar today! Choose your flavor here!
Another entirely vegan brand, Lulu’s Chocolates stemmed from the founder’s deep love for cocoa and her need for sugar-free alternatives. After trying raw cacao in Hawaii, Lulu was inspired to show the world that organic chocolate, in a purer form, is an incredibly healthy and guilt-free treat. That’s why all of her products are also gluten free, organic, soy free, and fairtrade! Check them out here.
Looking for a delicious fairtrade vegan chocolate bar, that’s also organic, gluten free, and does NOT use palm oil? You’ve come to the right place. Award-winning Vego bars, created in Germany, are now available in Canada and the U.S! You can even find them online! Made from the finest Italian chocolate and hazelnuts, this bar is one you won’t want to miss!
This organic, wild-harvested chocolate is infused with adaptogens and superherbs! For a truly outstanding bar that is sure to boost your mood and keep you focused, you’re going to want to go with YES Cacao’s delicious treats! Not to mention, their products are all organic, fairtrade, and entirely vegan! Click here to grab yours today.
Ready to indulge in some chocolatey goodness? Let us know which brand stood out to you in the comments below! Thank you for choosing ethical vegan products, and caring for our planet and the sentient beings residing in it!