CUMBRIA, United Kingdom — Galaxy Chocolate has released a new campaign video to reinforce its dedication to empowering women in the cocoa industry. By 2030, it promises to help more than one million women flourish in their communities, their homes and in business.
Global Chocolate Industry
In 2021, the global chocolate industry was worth more than $113 billion and could rise even more the next few years. Despite this, employees of the cocoa trade are still living in extreme poverty; overworked and underpaid, women are typically bearing the brunt of the inequalities in the industry.
Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa produces the most amount of cocoa worldwide and is a nation where gender inequalities still persist. In farming and production, women work longer hours yet receive roughly 70% less income than their male counterparts and often have little say in how profits get distributed. Furthermore, according to Fairtrade Foundation, men account for 75% of land ownership here, with female-owned cocoa farms usually being smaller-scale, more isolated and ultimately not offering much financial security.
Teaching the Essential Skills
Galaxy Chocolate and other leading confectionary brands investing in female farmers are vital in eradicating poverty. It highlights its commitment through the continued support of schemes such as the Women for Change Village Savings and Loans Associations program (VSLA). Initiatives like this teach women the essential skills to become successful business owners, equipping them with loans and knowledge to grow their income and make the most of their farms. Small loans offered that the scheme offers can impact individuals greatly, $20 to $50 can contribute to the purchase of fertilizer, school fees, or medicine.
Triumph in business helps women elevate their voices and gender inequities in their homes and relationships are more likely to dismantle. Empowered women create change; having more financial stability means more children in classrooms, improving their well-being and nourishment.
Purchasing Responsibly-Sourced Chocolate
According to Fairtrade Foundation, in an industry where farmers are earning less than $1 a day, it is pivotal that consumers are mindful of where they spend their money and support ethical companies that are fair to their farmers while also sourcing their ingredients responsibly.
Farmers have suffered immeasurable losses in the past four decades as cocoa bean prices have reduced by 50%, with landowners not making enough income to support themselves and adult employee wages. Greed from multi-million dollar companies is forcing farmers into recruiting children.
Between 2018 and 2019, a study undertaken by governmental bodies including the U.S. Department of Labor found that in cocoa-growing areas of Ghana, more than half of the children were participating in child labor deemed as “hazardous.” Optimistically, however, the same research found that 96% of children living in these communities are currently in education.
The Optimistic Road Ahead
From farmers to customers, Galaxy Chocolate has an equal duty of care to all involved. Empowering women is often the key to bettering communities and improving the prospects of children, as generally, women reinvest most of their wages back into their communities. This reinvestment allows young people to prosper at school, instead of being exploited at work.
There are also vast improvements that are paving the way for the future of chocolate, with Fairtrade Foundation improving the minimum price of cocoa for farmers; more brands committing themselves to Fairtrade regulations; and more women feeling the benefits of taking on leadership roles. Investing in women is an investment in the future.
– Yasmin Hailes