It doesn’t end !
I thought that I’d not be seeing the word “Mars” again now that all that debacle has gone through. But I was wrong.
A news item via the Independent Online about how the purchase of cocoa from Africa might be helping rebels fight wars in Africa:
Chocoholics may be funding war in Africa
By Claire Soares
Published: 08 June 2007
British chocoholics may have unwittingly helped fund an African conflict, with an estimated $120m (Â£60m) from the cocoa trade being siphoned off into war chests in Ivory Coast, according to a report released today.
“There is a high chance that your chocolate bar contains cocoa from Ivory Coast and may have funded the conflict there, which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth,” said Patrick Alley, the director of Global Witness, the London-based group behind the report.
Companies such as NestlÃ© and Mars source some of their cocoa from the troubled west African nation.
While much has been written about child labour on African cocoa plantations, the Global Witness report, Hot Chocolate, is the first to catalogue how cocoa has fuelled conflict on the west coast of the continent…
… Global Witness says that among the many abuses of cocoa revenues during the “no war, no peace” stand-off, about $20m was embezzled by Ivorian national cocoa institutions and diverted to the government. Another $40m were funnelled into the president’s war effort.
On the rebel side, militants extorted $30m each year from companies trucking cocoa through their half of the country – a illegal tax that “enabled them to survive as a movement”, the report says.
Campaigners want the intermediary cocoa-exporting companies to be transparent about exactly what payments they make, and want big confectioners to be upfront about where their cocoa comes from.
“The chocolate industry is so secretive about their recipes that they don’t tell you what’s in the mix,” said one of the report’s researchers, who has assumed the alias Maria Lopez. “The consumer can pressure chocolate companies to put that information on the label so they know they are buying conflict-free chocolate.”
So another reason, if you need one, to continue to boycott any Mars/Masterfoods products.
As for Nestle and their practices – well that goes without saying.
But more about them in another post…