Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

BREAKING NEWS

Is that a good egg? How chocolate makers rate on social and environmental measures


SQUARESPACE.COM

EASTER is the biggest chocolate-buying time of the year. But who’s really paying for the cost of that chocolate?

The second annual report on the social and environmental performance of the world’s major chocolate makers show human exploitation and environmental degradation continue to be key ingredients in many chocolate products.

It is a collaboration between five advocacy groups — Be Slavery Free, German-based social justice organization INKOTA, and US environmental outfits Green America, Mighty Earth, and the National Wildlife Federation. (The Macquarie Business School has been working with Be Slavery Free on research into issues of modern slavery).

The report sorts 31 major chocolate makers into four bands — industry leaders, those showing improvement, those needing to do more, and the industry laggards — based on their written responses to questions about their polices in six key areas covering social, environmental, and governance practices.

Just four of the 31 received the highest “good egg” rating: US-based Alter Eco, Switzerland’s Chocolats Halba/Sunray, Netherlands-based Tony’s Chocolonely, and New Zealand’s Whittakers. These are all relatively small chocolate makers.

Thirteen makers ranked in the second category, includes most of the world’s 10 biggest confectionery companies — Mars Wrigley (US), Ferraro Group (Luxembourg/Italy), Mondelez International (US, owner of the Cadbury, Toblerone and Milka brands), Hershey (US), Nestle (Switzerland) and Lindt & Sprungli (Switzerland).

Seven companies were in the third rank. Three were in the fourth — Meiji, Itochu, and Morinaga (all Japan-based).

Four companies failed to respond to the survey: Valrhona (France); Starbucks (US, a major seller of hot chocolate products); Unilever (UK); and August Storck (Germany, maker of Werther’s, Toffifay, and Merci chocolate brands).

The full list of rankings can be found here: Easter+Scorecard+2021.pdf (squarespace.com)

The principal ingredient for making chocolate is cocoa, the powder made from grinding the seeds of the cacao plant. About 70% of cacao is farmed in West Africa, with Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana being the big two producers.

Most cacao farmers make less than $1 a day (and women even less), well below the global poverty line of $1.90. An estimated 1.6 million children work in cocoa production in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana alone.

Clearing land to farm cacao is estimated to be responsible for about one-third of the land cleared in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana over the past 60 years. These countries have now lost more than 80% of rainforest cover. Such deforestation contributes to climate change.

The good news is that most companies and four producer governments (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Colombia, and Cameroon) have committed to ending cocoa-driven deforestation through the Cocoa and Forest Initiative.

Some action is taking place through agroforestry, which involves farming a variety of crops while retaining natural vegetation. This has been shown to reduce the need for pesticides, increase carbon sequestration, and improve biodiversity. It is also better for farmers’ food and income security, as they can grow diverse crops rather than relying on just one.

Essential to addressing these social and environmental problems is achieving transparency in supply chains. If a company does not trace and track where products have come from, it cannot know if they have been produced through human exploitation or environmental destruction.

The report rates chocolate makers on two measures related to this — due diligence traceability and transparency. These are crucial as the foundation for all other reforms.

They are also key to Australia’s modern slavery act, which requires businesses with an annual turnover of A$100 million to publish a “modern slavery statement” reporting on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and on the actions they have taken to address these.

But such transparency alone will not be enough if consumers don’t act on that information, and put pressure on chocolate companies through their purchasing decisions.

So go with the good eggs, and avoid the bad.

John Dumay is a Professor in the Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Macquarie University. James Guthrie is a Distinguished Professor of Accounting, Macquarie University.





Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enter Your Information Below To Receive Latest News And Articles
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

You May Also Like

BREAKING NEWS

Politics56 minutes ago (Feb 29, 2020 10:54PM ET) (C) Reuters. Democratic Presidential candidate Tom Steyer speaks to supporters as he announced that he is...

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Let’s Talk Liberal If you thought “we’re all in this together” battling COVID-19, Multnomah County, Ore., is here to set you straight. We’re not...

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Let’s Talk Liberal The decades old game show, The Price Is Right, you know the one – where men dress up as women? I’ll...

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Let’s Talk Liberal “The press is protecting [Joe Biden],” assessed former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, observing broad left-wing and partisan Democrat biases...

Disclaimer: PoliticalInvestorsDaily.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 PoliticalInvestorsDaily. All Rights Reserved.

Enter Your Information Below To Receive Latest News And Articles



Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!