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April 12, 2017

How to have an ethical Easter

Be a good egg this Easter.

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  • Words: Anthony Nocera
  • Pictures: Jessica Clark

In times of mass consumption and frenzied last-minute shopping it’s easy to forget about your morals.

It doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person, it’s easy to let things slide when you have half an hour on your lunch break to organise a bunch of gifts for people you forget exist until Easter time.

Plus, chocolate is delicious and philosophy and ethics are (often) boring and decidedly un-delicious. Ethics are to flavour what carob is to high quality chocolate.

So, when a company brings those two seemingly opposing worlds of morality and flavour together, it’s worth taking note.

Haigh’s has always led the charge in South Australia in terms of quality, both in relation to its product and the wellbeing of its employees. It is no surprise, then, that they also maintain quality in relation to the supply of their cocoa.

“We’re certified through the UTZ certification program which means our supply chains are sustainable and ethical and through that we have eliminated any slave labour from our supply chain,” says Haigh’s supply manager, Peter Millard.

“It also means that we, as a company, go through a certification process as well to ensure that we’re compliant at every level. I mean … Haigh’s is a value driven company. We care about our people and the community, so supplying ethically and working in this way is a perfect fit for our company and for our values. We’re built upon a foundation of respect for our product, for our customers, and our staff and our supply should reflect that.”

From bean to bar – Haigh’s raw ingredients are ethically sourced. This photo: Ben McPherson

Throwing around words like ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ can seem opaque in an age where every business uses notions of corporate responsibility as a marketing strategy. But according to Tim Piper, Head of the AI Group’s Confectionary Sector, this responsibility goes far beyond self-interest in his industry.

“I think companies have decided that it’s important to source as much cocoa as ethically as possible,” says Tim.

“There are a variety of issues, both social and economic. In terms of social issues. I mean, many of these cocoa workers are earning less than a dollar a day. So, ethical sourcing enables cocoa plantation owners to improve what they’re doing and improves their wages and the way that they live.”

Ethically sourcing cocoa also has flow-on benefits for us as consumers, in that it embeds stability into the cocoa supply chain.

“In addition to the social aspects, there’s economic benefits,” says Tim. “It acts to ensure there are improved efficiencies in cocoa, which means that we will continue to have a cocoa supply as more and more chocolate is consumed throughout the world.

“That means more money for farmers, and that’s very important. It enables them to send their kids to school, instead of having them working on the farm, which is also an important factor in improving their livelihoods.”

According to Peter, for Haigh’s, it’s all about simply doing what’s right.

“There’s a personal connection when you see something you don’t agree with, or when you see a problem you always hope you can do more than what you’re able to achieve,” he says. “This is a way for us to make sure that we can stand by our product and make sure that it maintains quality from the word go.”

There’s nothing better than eating chocolate on Easter morning and now, thanks to Haigh’s and companies like them, it can feel just as good as it tastes.

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