Nonprofit Green America has released a ranking of major chocolate companies on the steps they are taking on child labor, deforestation, and whether they have meaningful programs to address farmer poverty in cocoa supply chains.
The U.S. Labor Department estimates that over two million children are working in cocoa fields in West Africa. Cocoa growing has also damaged forests in the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Washington, D.C.-based Green America, founded in 1982, said its Chocolate Scorecard allows consumers to identify and purchase chocolate that is ethically made and help support the fight against child labor.
Chocolate brand Godiva was the only one to receive an F. Although Green America noted that Godiva “has committed to 100-percent sustainable cocoa by 2020,” the group said the brand did not provide information on what organization is certifying its cocoa and did not provide an update on its progress or plans regarding the 2020 commitment.
Chocolate brands Ferrero and Mondelez both received Ds, while Lindt and Hershey received a C, and Mars and Nestle got a C+.
Chocolate maker Guittard received a B+, while most organic brands received As, including Alter Eco, Divine, Endangered Species, Equal Exchange, Shaman, Theo Chocolate, and Tony’s Chocolonely.
“This Halloween and every day, children should be able to enjoy candies that aren’t made by child laborers, and those child laborers should be enjoying their childhoods, rather than being forced to work in dangerous conditions,” said Charlotte Tate, labor justice manager at Green America. “However, companies continue to make that a difficult task by not adequately addressing child labor in their supply chain. Big brands must do more to tackle these issues and buying ethically sourced chocolate is one way for consumers to put pressure on brands to change their practices.”