Corrupt corporations are getting away with your candy
Top candy sellers make big bucks during Halloween by exploiting people and the planet and our purchases are only helping them succeed
We spend over half a billion dollars on Halloween candy each year, generating big bucks for large corporations that are more frightening than the holiday itself. Child labour, unfair treatment of workers and detrimental environmental impacts are just some of the unethical practices the top winners of Halloween such as Mars, Nestle, Lindt and Hershey, participate in.
Several high-profile cases have revealed chocolate and candy manufacturers indirectly or directly benefit from forced and child labor. For example, cocoa plantations in West Africa, which supply major chocolate makers including Mars, Nestle and Hershey, have faced allegations of using child labor in hazardous conditions.
More specifically, excessive plastic packaging used by these corporations also contributes to global plastic pollution crisis, especially since they often use non-biodegradable materials that end up in landfills or oceans.
The palm oil industry, frequently used in the production of chocolate products, has also been significantly associated with deforestation and habitat destruction. Many of the aforementioned companies source palm oil from unsustainable suppliers, such as those involved in illegal land clearing, further contributing to this issue.
On top of this, there have also been instances of workplace discrimination and unfair compensation among these corporations. Employees, particularly in lower-wage positions, may experience wage disparities and discriminatory practices based on their gender, ethnicity or other factors.
While we enjoy a short-lived moment of joy, indulging in the sweet treats of Halloween, these companies get away with exploiting other communities across the world, depriving individuals of their human rights.
As consumers, we need to recognize that when we support these companies through our high volumes of purchases at Halloween, this choice ultimately drives their sales, profits and their ability to maintain their unethical operations into the future. Our decisions contribute to the consistent perpetuation of these business practices, and we have the power to hold these major corporations accountable.
Although creating such large-scale change seems daunting, it’s our collective efforts that matter. For one, consider doing some research into and choosing ethical brands as much as possible. Prioritize businesses with transparent and ethical practices, such as those that support fair labour, use sustainable materials and have a commitment to social responsibility/ESG.
In addition, take the opportunity to support local businesses. Opt for local costume shops, bakeries, and artisans who often maintain higher ethical and quality standards due to their smaller and community-focused scale.
To further prevent corporations from perpetuating harms, express your concerns to businesses that may be involved in these unethical practices. Consumer feedback can lead to positive change and get more people involved in supporting the greater cause.
While Halloween is meant to be an exciting break during the fall season, it is also a day to reflect on the consequences of our consumer choices.
By being conscious consumers, we can send a message to businesses that we value ethical and responsible practices. Let’s focus on enjoying Halloween with awareness and ensure that the season's treats and tricks don't come at the expense of people, the planet or our own ethical values.