Bittersweet Chocolate: The Truth Behind the International Chocolate Industry
Despite cocoa beans being a global commodity feeding the chocolate desires of industrialised nations, the production is still largely in the hands of millions of small holders.Cocoa provides the livelihood of over 5 million farmers worldwide. Further up the supply chain concentration processes have led to a mere handful of companies dominating the market.
This report takes a look behind the curtain of the international chocolate industry, uncovering the massive imbalances in the sector as well as the social and environmental challenges that cocoa producers are facing. Our geographical focus lies oon West Africa - specifically Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon - as most of the cocoa processed in Europe originates there. The report covers the most important stages in the chocolate supply chain, focusing both on one of its most powerful actors - the supermarkets - as well as on the most vulnerable group of participants: cocoa farmers, (migrant) farm-workers, children and especially women. It highlights the environmental problems of cocoa production, deforestation and pesticide use, their causes and consequences, and points to possible solutions. It presents an analysis of pesticide residues found on 41 Austrian chocolate bars and Easter Bunnies and an overview of the sustainability programmes of Austrian retailers towards cocoa. Besides the social problems, as poverty, child labour and exploitation of farm-workers, it highlights the environmental problems of cocoa production, deforestation and pesticide use, their causes and consequences, and points to possible solutions. It also highlights two special issues concerning cocoa production in Ghana and Cameroon: the interaction between gold mining activities and cocoa in Ghana and the consequences of the World Bank´s Structural Adjustment Programs on the cocoa sector in Cameroon.
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