PCC Natural Markets has 10 stores in the Greater Seattle Area and as of this month, it is believed to be the only grocer in the United States that carries only ethical chocolate.
In 1998, investigators from UNICEF discovered the prevalence of child labor in the chocolate market. Nearly 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa and an estimated 1.8 million children are working to harvest chocolate in this region.
When PCC made this choice, it meant eliminating some brands thought of as artisanal because they were not able to verify the source of their cacao. An independent third party verified the source of the chocolate for brands and PCC also used questionnaires and signed affidavits.
“It may surprise some that brands meeting the fair labor standard, in many cases, are priced lower than chocolates that do not prohibit child slave labor. Meeting fair labor standards does not necessarily increase the price people pay and we still have more than 50 brands that comply,We’re really pleased that doing good things also is good business.”
You may not live near a PCC, but you can share this story with your local grocer or call a store’s customer service line. Tell them that sourcing only ethical chocolate is possible and that as a customer you would support them.