(Stillness in the Storm Editor) Update – A reader informed me that one of the socially conscious companies on the list provided below was recently purchased by Kraft through their subsidiary Mondelez International.
Here is a list of companies owned by Mondelez:
It is becoming increasingly clear that the voting systems used throughout the modern world are rigged in favor of obscured interests. Globalism has allowed for-profit ethically irresponsible corporations to flourish, wreaking untold havoc on the environment and human health. What’s worse is that national policies or “laws” are only voluntary with respect to these transnational business practices. Companies like Monsanto destroy lives at nearly every level of their operations, from the small town farmer who loses their family farm, to the seasonal worker exposed to highly toxic compounds, all the way down to the consumer who is fed overpriced toxic food.
What can the average person do in the face of such monumental corporate engines of destruction?
The truth is, these morally reprehensible corporations, cannot function without consumers, they cannot do what they do without our participation. And they secure our cooperation via the voting ballot of the dollar.
What we choose to spend our money on is arguably one of the most important things we can do. Voting for a president won’t change anything. Voting in local elections may change things slightly, but the beast still draws breath. The one thing that delivers a clear and decisive blow to these nefarious organizations is our refusal to buy their products. We have to stop cooperating in our own self-destruction.
The following article details one thread in a tapestry of out-of-control profiteering. Corporations that have gone public (or are publically traded) are beholden to make a profit every quarter no matter what it takes. Bribing public officials, faking test results, and using child slave labor are not isolated incidents, they’re standard business practices.
Consider that the five largest banks on the planet plead guilty in 2015 for market rigging and fraud. These actions negatively effected billions of people on the planet. And the only recourse was a set of fines issued by regulators—the criminal behavior hasn’t stopped though. Let me say that again to really emphasize the point. Five supremely powerful corporations admitted to defrauding the public, en masse, and the so-called justice system didn’t stop them, it only fined them. These fines were just seen as the cost of doing business. These practices are still taking place, albeit under some new framework.
On this issue of addressing corporate misconduct—a politically correct term referring to criminal or harmful actions—the people have no recourse. No one is going to stop these criminals, except the people themselves; and this is where voting with our dollars comes in.
These nefarious companies procure our consent when we purchase their products. When we buy chocolate made from child slavery, we are saying “I am OK with child slavery.” When we use a bank that defrauds the people, we are saying “I am OK with fraud and corruption.” But when we spend our money elsewhere, we say the reverse, “I am not OK with this company’s practices.” And these companies take notice.
For-profit corporations are required to earn profits every year, and so if the people stop buying their goods and services, they will be forced to change, or die trying. The fact is the people have a lot more power than they think, the problem is we’ve been led to believe we can’t change the system or that somehow voting for a new president, representative, or statute effects the situation. But in truth, the thing that matters the most to these companies is where we spend our money.
So while we can’t address the core issues of pandemic ignorance and complacency by spending our money differently, we can send a clear message to the system that if it doesn’t change, we won’t participate any longer. Boycotting is a powerful tool, and if we’re brave enough to change ourselves by learning to use different products and services, it will send a message to those forces that don’t feel pressured to change because the people keep buying into them.
The next time your in a store, shop, or online looking to spend money, ask yourself “what message am I sending by making this purchase.”
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Americans sure do. In fact, the average American citizen eats over 11 pounds of chocolate each year. But there’s a downside to this sweet treat beyond simply questionable ingredients.
Many of us purchase our chocolate without thinking about who made it, and that’s a problem, since a variety of large corporations have been accused of using child slavery to give you your chocolate fix.
Last September, a lawsuit was filed against a list of companies that includes Hershey, Mars, and Nestle, claiming that the companies were tricking their consumers into funding the child slave labor trade in West Africa.
It’s been a cause for concern in the chocolate industry for the past 15 years. Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate, and most of it is grown in West Africa, with the two biggest producers being the Ivory Coast and Ghana, which account for about 60 percent of the global cocoa supply.
Many companies within the chocolate industry rely almost exclusively on West Africa for their cocoa supply, but most of the cocoa is produced on small farms by farmers suffering from severe poverty. These extremes often result in child labor. Back in 2001, the chocolate industry pledged to end the practices in Ivory Coast and Ghana by 2005, but this deadline has repeatedly been pushed back. Now, the hope is to fully eliminate it by 2020.
To understand why this is so important, you need to look beyond the money and beyond the chocolate. You need to become aware of what’s happening to these children. Ranging from the ages of 11-16, and sometimes even younger, the conditions of these child slaves prove grim, with children trapped in isolated farms where they work for 80 to 100 hours every single week.
They are often beaten with fists, belts, and whips as well, according to freed children who spoke on the matter in the film Slavery: A Global Investigation. “The beatings were a part of my life,” explained freed slave Aly Diabate. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”
Want to avoid supporting child slavery? Steer clear of these seven chocolate companies:
- ADM Cocoa
- Fowler’s Chocolate
“At the moment, no major chocolate company can guarantee their cocoa supply is not tainted by child labor,” explains Elizabeth Jardim, director of consumer advocacy at Green America, a non-profit that promotes ethical consumerism. “However, most have launched sustainability programs that attempt to address child labor in a variety of ways, largely thanks to consumer pressure.”
And yet, despite the constant news on the severe subject, the number of children working in the cocoa industry has increased by 51 percent from 2009 to 2014. “They enjoy something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh,” one freed boy explained.
Check out this list of more socially conscious companies who have made it a priority to steer clear of profiting off the suffering of child labor:
- Green and Black’s
- The Endangered Species Chocolate Company
- Gardners Candie
- Rapunzel Pure Organics
- Cloud Nine
- Giddy Yoyo
- Clif Bar
- Koppers Chocolate
- L.A. Burdick Chocolates
- Denman Island Chocolate
- Montezuma’s Chocolates
- Newman’s Own Organics
- Kailua Candy Company
- Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company
About The Author
Inspired by balance, Alexa finds that her true inner peace comes from executing a well-rounded lifestyle. An avid yogi, hiker, beach bum, music and art enthusiast, salad aficionado, adventure seeker, animal lover, and professional writer, she is an active individual who loves to express herself through the power of words.
Stillness in the Storm Editor’s note: Did you find a spelling error or grammar mistake? Do you think this article needs a correction or update? Or do you just have some feedback? Send us an email at [email protected]. Thank you for reading.
August 16th, 2016: A reader sent an update regarding the list of socially responsible companies which was added as an update in the introductory portion of this article.