- Tony's Chocolonely and Lindt topped Green America's Spring 2020 Chocolate Scorecard on Tuesday for their "industry-leading" commitments and progress on sustainability, traceability and labor rights issues in their cocoa supply chains. Godiva ranked last, receiving a "rotten egg" rating for "failing to take responsibility for the conditions with which its chocolates are made, despite making huge profits, ... [and for making] very little progress on social and environmental issues in the last few years," the report said.
- The spring scorecard is a joint effort by Mighty Earth, Green America and Be Slavery Free. The groups surveyed 13 chocolate companies and eight cocoa suppliers — labeling their policies on issues including transparency and traceability; deforestation and climate change; agroforestry; living income policies; and child labor as "leading," "lagging," "bad" or "nonexistent."
- "Godiva does not own farms and purchases cocoa through third parties which puts us at a distinct disadvantage on scorecards such as these that don’t allow for an accurate representation of our longstanding commitment to people and planet," a Godiva spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive via email.
Deforestation and labor are pressing issues for the cocoa industry because of the difficulty involved in establishing visibility throughout the supply chain. Chocolate manufacturers signed an agreement two decades ago to clean up the industry, but "sadly, very little has changed," Charlotte Tate, labor justice campaigns manager at Green America, said in a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive.
Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, two major cocoa-producing countries, are losing their forests to aggressive farming practices and are home to many of the 2.1 million children working in the industry, according to Green America.
Company commitments to labor rights and transparency in the supply chain are especially important now, said Fuzz Kitto, co-national director of Be Slavery Free in Australia, as "poorer countries where cocoa is grown may not have the financial muscle to ride the [coronavirus] pandemic out. Communities already suffering from malnutrition and low cash flow will be hard hit," he said. A drop in global demand could decimate the incomes of families dependent on the cocoa industry.
The scorecard's release was timed to give shoppers insight into brands' supply chain practices before the Easter holiday, as the authors said they believe companies will be especially sensitive to consumer demands given current economic conditions.
Godiva has repeatedly ranked poorly on the scorecard, despite sharing a supplier, Barry Callebaut, with the top-ranked Tony's Chocolonely.
The Godiva spokesperson said the company ensures ethical sourcing through supplier agreements and a company code of conduct that "explicitly prohibits the use of forced and child labor and requires suppliers to pay fair and reasonable wages ... [and] requires suppliers to comply with local laws and regulations governing environment and local resources."
However, Green America said Godiva, and other companies with low scorecard rankings, can do more to improve outcomes and ensure compliance on the ground regardless of whether they own their farms.
"Tony’s has prioritized improving the chocolate industry and designed their business model around making progress and treating farmers fairly, while Godiva has not," Tate told Supply Chain Dive via email. "Taking responsibility for the role Godiva can and should be playing to improve the industry, to end child labor, and to stop deforestation within the cocoa supply chain is an essential first step."
Tony's, which emphasizes its commitment to make "100% slave-free" labor the norm in the cocoa industry, said certification labels are not enough, according to its website. "Chocolate makers are responsible for their chocolate and their supply chain – not the certification inspector."
Nestlé, which received a "leading" scorecard rating for its efforts to combat both practices, has mapped 75% and 80% of the roughly 120,000 cocoa farms it sources from directly in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, respectively, according its 2020 deforestation report. Using this information, the company has distributed nearly 500,000 "forest trees" in the two countries to restore the environment (with a goal of 2.9 million by 2022) and is training farmers on more sustainable practices.
Nestlé is also "addressing child labor issues, tackling deforestation and agroforestry programs, training farmers programs, income diversification, increasing access to basic financial services, [and] encouraging women’s empowerment through increased literacy," through its Nestlé Cocoa Plan Initiative, a company spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive via email.
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