Ahead of this year’s Halloween, the Green America’s Consumer Guide has released its 'Chocolate Scorecard', which grades major confectionery companies on social and environmental practices, including certifications for forced labor, child labor and discrimination.
While firms including Godiva, Ferrero and Mondelēz didn’t score great in many of the categories, six companies achieved “A” grades: Alter Eco, Divine, Endangered Species, Equal Exchange, Shaman and Theo Chocolate.
Green America is a national not-for-profit, membership organization founded in 1982 to promote green and fair trade business principles.
The Chocolate Scorecard (below) identifies ethically sourced, certified sweets. The scorecard is also designed to help consumers understand what the major chocolate companies are — and are not — doing to combat child labor in their supply chain.
“Every Halloween, there’s plenty to be scared of in the candy aisle,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Consumer and Corporate Engagement at Green America. “That’s why Green America provides the Chocolate Scorecard, so consumers know which of their favorite chocolate brands are using ethically sourced, high-quality ingredients.”
Green America says it recognizes most major chocolate companies have commitments to source more sustainable cocoa. Many of them also include plans to have 100% certified cocoa in their supply chain by 2020.
Although this is an important step in the right direction, certification programs alone are not enough to solve the underlying issues that contribute to child labor in cocoa, including farmer poverty and a lack of infrastructure, says the not-for–profit organization
“Child labor is a global problem, and there is a cruel irony in the fact that it is used to produce candy for other children,” said Caroline Chen, social justice manager at Green America. “When shoppers hit the stores to purchase candy to hand out on Halloween, they should consider the other children of the world that are affected.”
According to Green America, more than two million children in West Africa work in often hazardous conditions growing cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate.