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Tava's Guiding Principles
We believe that cocoa growers and their families deserve access to things that most consumers of chocolate take for granted - things like basic healthcare, and education. We hope to see the day when child labour is no longer necessary in the cocoa industry. This will only happen when adult labourers can earn enough from growing cocoa to cover their families' basic needs, including food, housing, education, and healthcare. Our starting point is to pay a fair price for every kilogram of cocoa we buy.
We value human and environmental health above ruthless efficiency. On the one hand, we have seen cocoa grown skillfully and productively without the use of any synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. On the other hand, we are aware that many Third World cocoa-growing countries still use some of the most toxic pesticides ever manufactured - pesticides like DDT, which was banned thirty years ago in countries like Australia and the United States.
We accept that an organic cocoa plantation is likely to produce lower yields than a plantation treated with chemicals. Therefore, we pay a premium for organically grown cocoa to "compensate" the farmer for his lower yields, and to encourage environmentally sustainable agriculture.
We are acutely aware of the growing incidence of severe nut allergies amongst children in our community. In response to this situation, most chocolate manufacturers have taken the step of placing an increasingly familiar warning on their products: "May contain traces of nuts".
We have chosen to keep our premises and our products strictly nut free.
There is a myth perpetuated by people who sell products made from cocoa grown using agrochemicals, or purchased at the lowest possible price: that organically grown, fairly traded cocoa beans are of unacceptably low quality; or even that they're impossible to source.
The truth is that sourcing high quality, organically grown and fairly traded cocoa requires effort, and sometimes a financial investment on the part of the buyer. Also, "ethical" cocoa is more expensive per kilogram than environmentally and socially exploitative cocoa.
But ultimately, in the relationship between cocoa buyers and cocoa growers, it is the buyers who have the power. When buyers demand well processed, organically grown beans, and offer to pay a fair price for this product, growers will (and do) respond accordingly.
The Cocoa Communiqué
Lang & Sam meet some cocoa growers in a remote part of Vanuatu
Three reasons not to grow cocoa commercially in Australia
Sam becomes one of 500 million people to catch malaria in 2005
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