November 16th, 2010
12:40 PM ET

Dutch holiday chocolates go green

Most of the chocolate letters distributed by Sinterklaas in the Netherlands this year will be made of fair-trade cocoa, Oxfam Novib says.

Sinterklaas - that's Santa Claus to Americans - has gone green in the Netherlands.

Giving large chocolate alphabet letters is a Dutch yuletide tradition. Sinterklaas leaves children's initials hidden in shoes and other surprising places, and bosses give them to employees.

Oxfam Novib, the Dutch branch of Oxfam International, started a campaign in 2007 to encourage people to give letters made with fair-trade chocolate.

Traditional chocolate production has exploited children's labor, including child trafficking. In the Ivory Coast alone, 150,000 children, 12,000 of whom have been trafficked, work in cocoa production under horrific conditions, according to Oxfam Novib.

Fair trade provides a fair price for products from developing countries, produced under good working conditions and sparing tropical forests, the organization says.

Five major grocery store chains and one of the Netherlands' leading producers of chocolate, Royal Verkade, have joined the campaign. The result: 96 percent of the 23 million letters that will be bought by December 5 (the day the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas), will be made from all or partially sustainable products, Oxfam Novib says, according to De Telegraaf. Last year, just 15 percent were, Oxfam says.

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Filed under: Netherlands • World
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. CaptainObvious

    Real cocoa extract is actually really good for your health. I feel great since I've been taking it.

    November 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. donimus

    Are those Black people on that float behind that guy?

    November 16, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andre

      The answer you find here:

      December 7, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wild Hurricane

    Now! that! is a Santa beard! Isn't chocolate wonderful!

    November 16, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Matrix

    Better to work in the fields, than to work in the brothels. I always say. Right, Donkey?

    November 16, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matrix

    Oh, i guess a statement like that would mean i should be made to work in conditions like that, right? yes, yes. i know. Where's my boots? thanks!

    November 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pauly

    gimme a break...gimme a break...break me off a piece a that Y. mmmmmmmm

    November 16, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |