Easter scorecard: chocolate companies ranked for child labour and sustainability practices

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Etty Fidele/Green America
Pic: Etty Fidele/Green America

Related tags Easter egg Sustainability

The annual Easter Scorecard, published by Be Slavery Free, Green America, Inkota, Mighty Earth, and National Wildlife Federation, which surveys chocolate companies and cocoa suppliers, reveals many of the chocolate manufacturers and retailers are still failing to address social and environmental concerns, according to the 2021 findings.

Storck, a confectioner with production facilities in Germany and 21 international subsidiaries, received the ‘Rotten Egg Award' for lowest marks relating to its lack of responsiveness and transparency. Its brands include Werther’s Original, Riesen, Toffifee, Merci, Colourful World, and Bendicks.

The ‘Good Egg’ was awarded to three highest-ranking companies:

  1. Alter Eco, a US-based company with distribution in the US and Europe, received its first Good Egg. The NGOs also acknowledged its partner Chocolats Halba / Sunray for Halba’s role in helping Alter Eco achieve sustainability goals.
  2. Tony’s Chocolonely, a Netherlands-based multinational company, received the Good Egg for the second time in a row.
  3. New Zealand brand Whittaker’s also received the Good Egg for the second year in a row. Its products are available primarily in Australia and New Zealand.

Companies are getting better quickly on this issue, but most still aren’t crossing the finish line" -- Charlotte Tate, Labor Campaigns Director at Green America

Judges said previous Rotten Egg ‘winners’ have since substantially improved their performance on sustainability across the board. Godiva, the recipient in 2020, has made major progress on living income policies and its environmental work, and 2019 Rotten Egg recipient Sucden also made progress on all categories of sustainability.

With this scorecard, consumers in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and beyond can buy Easter chocolates from the heart. They now have clear guidance on which companies are shining and which companies’ treats are likely tainted by deforestation and human rights abuses​,” said Etelle Higonnet, National Wildlife Federation Senior Advisor.

Consumers can now buy chocolate with their eyes wide open and use their purchasing power to push laggards like Storck and reward industry leaders Alter Eco, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Whittaker’s​.”

Judges surveyed 31 chocolate companies and cocoa suppliers, estimated to be supplying over 80% of the world’s chocolate confectionery.

Pressing sustainability issues

The companies were scored on the six most pressing sustainability issues facing the chocolate industry: human rights due diligence; transparency and traceability; deforestation and climate change; agroforestry; living income policies; and child labour.

Brands were then placed into one of four categories, with those awarded a green bunny leading the industry on policy, or a red bunny for needing to catch up with the industry. Those companies who chose not to participate in the scorecard also received a red bunny.

The judges acknowledged that cocoa companies, particularly those in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, have taken an important step to increase traceability in their supply chains by mapping over one million farms since 2018, and most major chocolate companies have disclosed at least some of their Ivorian cocoa supply chains in Mighty Earth’s Cocoa Accountability map.

We have seen the most positive progress in the traceability category in recent years​,” said Charlotte Tate, Labor Campaigns Director at Green America. “Companies are getting better quickly on this issue, but most still aren’t crossing the finish line. In order to address all other issues in the scorecard, companies must first know where the cocoa is coming from.

Without that information, there is little hope of ending child labour, farmer poverty, or deforestation. Companies must have fully traceable supply chains, paired with transparent reporting​.”

  • Checkout the full report and scorecard here​.

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