The Green Saint Nicholas: honest chocolate (the Netherlands)

Every year on 5 December, people in the Netherlands, and especially children, celebrate the day of Saint Nicholas. People are given presents and candy, including candy in the form of chocolate letters. The 3 million cacao farmers who produce the cacao for the chocolate letters were severely underpaid, worked under slavery-like conditions and sometimes children were forced to work on the plantations. Therefore, in 2009 Oxfam Novib introduced Green Saint Nicholas.

Green Saint Nicholas visited retail centres and supermarkets to inform them about the severely underpaid cacao farmers and the bad working conditions under which the cacao was produced. Commercials and media campaigns were also set up to raise awareness of Dutch society about the conditions under which most chocolate is produced. (Every Dutch person consumes on average 5 kilos of chocolate a year.)

What made this case successful?

More than 100,000 people supported the Oxfam Novib campaign by sharing their message concerning slave-free chocolate on social media. As a result, the Dutch minister of Agriculture, cacao traders, chocolate makers, supermarkets, Oxfam Novib and other civil society organisations signed a statement of intent. The chocolate producers have changed their practices. Since 2012, all the cacao that is used for the production of chocolate letters for the celebration of Saint Nicholas in the Netherlands is produced and bought for a fair price.