Sweet Nothings: Deforestation Remains High across Ghana & Côte d’Ivoire

In February 2022, Mighty Earth published our Sweet Nothings report in which we highlighted the unfulfilled promises of cocoa buyers and chocolate companies to halt cocoa-driven deforestation in West Africa and beyond. Our investigation uncovered evidence of ongoing tropical forest destruction in the key cocoa-growing regions of both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. 

 One year on, we’ve taken another look at the satellite data and, sadly, the overall picture has not improved. Deforestation across Côte d'Ivoire & Ghana’s cocoa growing regions in 2022 remained stubbornly high. RADD alerts — radar alerts that highlight forest loss in near-real time — picked up over 8,000 hectares (ha) of forest disturbance in Côte d'Ivoire, the most since 2019. In Ghana, RADD alerts highlighted over 12,000 ha of disturbance, similar to the amount of forest lost in 2021.  

This is concerning as it has now been several years since the cocoa industry committed to take action on deforestation. At the November 2017 UN Climate Change Conference, the governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana – along with cocoa traders and leading chocolate manufacturers (including Nestlé, Hershey’s, Mondelez, Unilever, and Mars) – signed the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) Framework for Action. This was followed in early 2019 by the publication of detailed action plans, raising hopes that companies across the cocoa supply chain would take decisive measures to end deforestation caused by the expansion of cocoa plantations in West Africa and work to rehabilitate degraded ecosystems.   

 Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that companies and governments have failed to make progress since this time. In Cote d’Ivoire, tree cover loss in cocoa growing regions has steadily increased from 5,500 ha in 2019 to 8,400 ha in 2022.  In Ghana, the trend is less consistent, but just as dire. Tree cover loss in cocoa growing regions has averaged ~12,000 ha since 2019, with ~12,350 ha in 2022.  

This is particularly concerning as Ghana is estimated to have lost 65% of its forest cover over the past thirty years, while Côte d’Ivoire has lost as much as 90% of its forests over a similar period.  With a 2018 estimate showing just ~1,007,000 ha of primary humid tropical forest remaining in Ghanaian cocoa growing regions, and 1,035,000 ha in Côte d'Ivoire, these losses are very significant: 4.7% of remaining forests have been lost in Ghana over the past four years, and 2.6% in Cote d’Ivoire.  

Source: Analysis (in Google Earth Engine) based on data from Wageningen University, in collaboration with World Resources Institute‘s Global Forest Watch program, Google, European Space Agency, University of Maryland and Deltares (2020). 

Furthermore, estimates of forest loss based on RADD alerts are likely quite conservative, as they monitor a  tropical forest basemap that only includes dense, humid tropical forests. IMAGES, the ‘official’ platform for forest monitoring adopted by both the CFI and Ivorian government paints an even scarier picture as the platform monitors more forest coverage than RADD: data from the IMAGES platform shows that more than 54,000 ha disturbance alerts were detected in Côte d'Ivoire’s cocoa growing regions in 2022, higher than both 2020 & 2021. 

 Source: Data from the IMAGES Platform's Early Warning System, licensed by Vivid Economics & co-financed by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP).

 With new legislation soon banning the sale of agricultural products linked to deforestation on EU markets, companies and governments in West Africa now have no choice but to take seriously their previous commitments to protect forests in cocoa growing regions. Mighty Earth once again calls upon the CFI and its members to adopt a publicly available deforestation monitoring system, publish supply chain information related to cocoa sourcing, support sustainable cocoa-growing practices, and actively work to rehabilitate degraded forest landscapes. 

For more information on our data and calculations, please rexplore Mighty Earth’s Cocoa Accountability Maps for Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana or reach out to [email protected]

Agroforestry: How do Chocolate Companies Compare?  

Dr Cristiana Bernardi 

Cristiana Bernardi is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Financial Management at The Open University Business School (UK).  

This blog post is one of a series linked to the publication of the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard company sustainability rankings. To view the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard please go to 

Agroforestry: the Future of Cocoa Farming 

Over recent years, the practice of agroforestry has been gaining momentum in cocoa production, as farmers recognise the importance of protecting their land to mitigate the risks posed by climate change and experience the benefits of mixed cropping for their food and livelihood security.  

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines agroforestry as: “(…) a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resource management system that, through the integration of trees on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production for increased social, economic and environmental benefits for land users at all levels”.  

When experts refer to cocoa grown in regenerative or ‘nature positive’ agricultural systems, they are often actually referring to robust agroforestry methods of cocoa growing. Scientific research demonstrates that agroforestry cocoa systems are better for the planet, as they can increase carbon sequestration, improve soil health and air moisture retention, support biodiversity, as well as deliver substantial enhancement of farmers’ food security and income diversification. When farmers monocrop, they are hostage to the vicissitudes of market shocks in the price of cocoa; when they produce multiple crops to diversify their income, this can protect them if a market shock occurs. Overall, when crafted properly, agroforestry cocoa systems are a win-win for people and the planet, farmers, and forests. 

These benefits are not abstract. A recent study from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), in collaboration with the UN-REDD Programme and the CocoaSoils initiative, outlines the potential for targeted cocoa agroforestry implementation to help restore forest cover in the Côte d’Ivoire, the biggest cocoa producer country in the world. The researchers found that “implementing agroforestry in current cocoa growing areas alone could potentially help to store an extra 120 million metric tons of carbon.” They also predict that “assuming the full potential for cocoa agroforestry is met in these areas, the national goal of 20% forest cover could be met” for Côte d’Ivoire.  

Industry Progress? 

For companies that source, trade or process cocoa, the production system under which that cocoa is grown therefore plays a huge role in the overall sustainability of their supply chain. The extent to which companies source from and/or support agroforestry cocoa was, therefore, a key component of the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard. We analysed company responses in the following areas for this category:  

  1. Any agroforestry policy – and its definition;
  2. Application of the agroforestry policy, globally or to West Africa only;
  3. Assessment and monitoring of the agroforestry policy;
  4. Support for and investment in farmers within the supply chain to transition to agroforestry growing methods; and
  5. A target year to source 100% of the cocoa grown in an agroforestry setting.

Despite the wide array of ecological benefits that can be achieved with cocoa agroforestry systems, and the recent progress in industry embracing agroforestry, the results from our questionnaire reveal that as of now agroforestry in the cocoa sector is still far from its potential. As a result, the global transition from monocropping cocoa to diverse agroforestry systems has a long way to go.  

To begin with, we note from our findings for the Chocolate Scorecard that a clear and widely agreed upon-definition of agroforestry is not in place across the cocoa industry. . As of today, a unified definition remains elusive. Even where some consensus can be found with clusters of companies agreeing on some definitions – such as through Rainforest Alliance (RA) the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), and the Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (ISCO) – they are not entirely suitable definitions. Analysts have found that these definitions frequently fall short of:  

(i) being farmer-centric;  

(ii) considering an adequate number of trees per hectare;  

(iii) using an adequate percentage of shade per hectare;  

(iv) defining an adequate number of canopy heights;  

(v) prioritising native trees over invasive species; and  

(vi) conducting adequate follow up to ensure the system isn’t failing. 

Therefore, it is of utmost importance for the cocoa industry and the governments of cocoa-producing nations to agree on what is meant by agroforestry, and for that shared definition to be based on the best available science.  

Further, it could be argued that the development of agroforestry systems has not been addressed sufficiently in policy formulation. Both legal restrictions on land management and complex taxation frameworks hinder the development of agroforestry. Unless agroforestry is promoted and regulated through specific policies, it is unlikely that considerable steps forwards will be taken.  

Another major challenge related to cocoa agroforestry is the inadequacy of monitoring systems. This is vital because, in some agroforestry projects, up to 90% of the non-cocoa trees planted end up dying. Monitoring to ensure continuity and success is therefore crucial. Despite numerous tree distribution campaigns in Côte d’Ivoire, the survival rate of distributed trees is less than 2%. Consequently, providing intensive training, education, and collaborative work with cocoa farmers and farm workers are critical to ensuring the successful transition from monoculture to agroforestry.  

Monitoring agroforestry will require investing in technologies and process development for national traceability systems and farm mapping as well as aboveground carbon assessments with satellite mapping. Monitoring progress should be carried out on a regular basis in a collaborative and inclusive manner to enable local civil society and farmers to take part in the monitoring process alongside satellite mappers, scientific experts, government officials, and industry representatives. 

Last but not least, the concepts of agroforestry and zero-deforestation are often confused. Agroforestry is not a replacement for natural forests, although it can contribute to compensating for past deforestation to a minor degree. 

Despite these shortcomings, we were pleased to see that the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard revealed a massive uptick in the industry’s ambition and investment in agroforestry systems compared to the previous editions.  

Chocolate Scorecard survey results 

Grading for the Agroforestry theme was not always straightforward. According to the survey, most companies have an agroforestry policy that applies to all regions they source from. A global policy would be ideal.  

  • Only a minority of the respondents have an agroforestry policy that exclusively applies to West African sourcing. Companies with a West African only policy, should revise it to make it global. 
  • A small number of companies admitted to not having an agroforestry policy at all. This is not acceptable. All companies that buy cocoa should have an agroforestry policy. 
  • Not all the companies provided us with clear-cut percentages of vegetation coverage, canopy cover, and species per hectare required. In some cases, narrative accounts were provided as an attempt to respond to the question. Further, we observed a number of companies not disclosing any figures at all.
  • Points were allotted for companies’ definitions of agroforestry. The better the definition, the better the score. 
  • Points were allotted for the percentage of cocoa grown already in agroforestry systems. Again, the higher the percentage, the better the score. 
  • Points were allotted for improvements as well, and for efforts to switch from monocropping to agroforestry systems. The bigger the switch, the better the score. 
  • Points were allotted for the percentage of cocoa grown with RA certification, as RA does include a focus on agroforestry systems, and works with farmers to continuously improve their agroforestry performance. The higher the percentage, the better the score. 
  • Points were allotted for monitoring.  
  • A few front-runner companies explicitly declared a target year to source 100% of their cocoa grown in an agroforestry setting. 

Communiqué de presse: Travail des enfants? Empoisonnement aux pesticides? Dans quelle mesure votre chocolat de Pâques est-il éthique?

Ce communiqué de presse est interdit à la diffusion jusqu'au 7 avril, 12:01 temps de l’Est (GMT – 4)

Le rapport complet peut être consulté au lien : en Français
Méthodologie: en Anglais

Contact : Miles Grant, [email protected], (+1) 703-864-9599 (m)

L’évaluation du chocolat de Pâques 2022 classe Starbucks parmi les "œufs cassés"

La coalition encourage l'industrie à rompre tous liens entre produits chocolatés, déforestation, travail des enfants et dégradation de l'environnement.

7 avril 2022 - Que contient réellement notre chocolat de Pâques ? Une coalition mondiale de défenseurs de l'environnement et de la justice sociale publie aujourd'hui The Chocolate Scorecard ou évaluation du chocolat, une enquête annuelle qui examine les progrès, ou l'absence de progrès, de l'industrie du chocolat dans la résolution des problèmes sociaux et environnementaux découlant des pratiques de l'industrie du cacao et des produits chocolatés qu'elle vend. La coalition de 29 membres est composée, entre autres, de Be Slavery Free, Mighty Earth et National Wildlife Federation.

L’évaluation du chocolat se concentre sur les chaînes de production et d'approvisionnement qui commencent en Afrique de l'Ouest, où environ 75 % du cacao mondial est produit. Si de nombreux acteurs du secteur relèvent le défi, d’autres, en revanche, continuent d'ignorer l’exigence des consommateurs d’avoir un chocolat exempt de travail des enfants, de pauvreté et de déforestation. Starbucks, General Mills et Storck ont reçu l'"œuf cassé" pour leur refus de fournir des informations pour les besoins de l’évaluation.

"Il est décevant de voir des entreprises comme Starbucks, qui prétendent être leader en matière de durabilité et de lutte contre la crise climatique, refuser de répondre à des questions directes sur leurs performances en matière de durabilité du cacao. Il est inadmissible que, à une époque de transparence croissante, Starbucks refuse d'être franc avec ses clients", déclare Glenn Hurowitz, fondateur et PDG de Mighty Earth. Et il poursuit : "Mighty Earth continuera à exiger la transparence et une véritable durabilité de la chaîne d'approvisionnement, tant pour notre climat que pour les communautés locales qui produisent ces matières premières essentielles."

Storck a reçu l'"Œuf pourri" pour la pire note globale, les chercheurs relevant le manque de transparence des politiques et pratiques dans sa chaîne d'approvisionnement en cacao, ainsi qu’à la lumière des plaintes de la société civile concernant l'entreprise.

Cette année, Ferrero rejoint la liste des bons œufs ("Good Eggs") qui comporte également Hershey's, Unilever et Ritter, dont le cacao est certifié à près de 100 % par Rainforest Alliance ou Fairtrade.

"Bien que la certification ne soit pas parfaite, elle constitue souvent une première étape positive dans le parcours de durabilité d'une entreprise", a déclaré Fuzz Kitto, de Be Slavery Free, l'organisation caritative basée en Australie qui a coordonné l’évaluation du chocolat 2022. "Si les entreprises progressent dans l'amélioration de la durabilité de leurs chaînes d'approvisionnement en chocolat, nous, leurs clients et leurs investisseurs, aimerions en être informés."

Les mentions spéciales pour le leadership sont attribuées à :

  • Alter Eco, Tony's Chocolonely et Whittaker's pour avoir continué à être parmi les meilleurs de leur catégorie.
  • Nestlé pour avoir pris d'importantes mesures en matière d'innovation afin d'améliorer le revenu des agriculteurs grâce à des paiements supplémentaires et pour s'être engagée à planter 2,8 millions d'arbres d'ombrage d'ici à la fin 2022.
  • Ferrero pour avoir rejoint d'autres entreprises dont le cacao est en grande majorité certifié, comme Hershey's, Unilever, Fazer et quelques autres.

Le tableau d’évaluation du chocolat est une mesure de responsabilité qui évalue les entreprises sur les six questions de durabilité les plus urgentes auxquelles est confrontée l'industrie du chocolat : la diligence raisonnable en matière de droits de l'homme, la transparence et la traçabilité, la déforestation et le changement climatique, l'agroforesterie, les politiques de revenu de subsistance et le travail des enfants. Alors que les chrétiens du monde entier célèbrent Pâques en dégustant des produits chocolatés, la coalition invite les consommateurs à utiliser le tableau de bord pour effectuer des achats plus intelligents et plus durables qui récompensent le bon comportement des entreprises plutôt que de renforcer les pratiques irresponsables.

Une précédente analyse des données (data analysis) de Mighty Earth a révélé que, plus de quatre ans après le lancement très médiatisé de l'Initiative Cacao et Forêts (CFI), les principales nations africaines productrices de cacao continuent de voir d'énormes zones de forêts précieuses détruites en Afrique de l'Ouest pour faire place à la production de cacao. La perte de ces précieuses forêts est souvent motivée par le fait que les petits exploitants locaux ne tirent pas de revenu suffisant de leur cacao, ce qui les oblige à pratiquer une agriculture extensive.

"Le temps des petits projets de compagnie est révolu et nous commençons maintenant à voir de nombreuses entreprises prendre des engagements majeurs pour lutter contre la pauvreté des agriculteurs et améliorer les moyens de subsistance des cacaoculteurs", soutient Sam Mawutor, du College of Earth Oceans and Atmospheric Sciences de l'Oregon State University. "Au minimum, cela montre que les marques de chocolat sont conscientes de ce problème, ce qui est un progrès. Cependant, étant donné que la pauvreté des ménages d'agriculteurs entraîne le travail des enfants, l'utilisation de produits chimiques et la conversion des forêts, il est nécessaire que les entreprises améliorent leur collaboration pour la mise en œuvre de solutions coordonnées à large échelle."

À propos de Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth ( est une organisation mondiale de défense d'une planète vivante.  Notre objectif est de conserver la moitié de la Terre pour la nature et de garantir un climat propice à la vie.  Nous sommes résolument engagés à l’obtention d'impact et aspirons à être l'organisation de défense de l'environnement la plus efficace au monde. Notre équipe a réussi à transformer les choses en persuadant les principales industries de réduire considérablement la déforestation et la pollution climatique tout au long de leurs chaînes d'approvisionnement mondiales en huile de palme, caoutchouc, cacao et aliments pour animaux, tout en améliorant les moyens de subsistance des communautés autochtones et locales des régions tropicales de la planète.

Pour les demandes de presse générales, veuillez contacter Miles Grant, [email protected], (+1) 703-864-9599 (m)

Pour toute demande de la presse locale, des photos et des citations d'experts, veuillez contactez les personnes suivantes :

  • Australie Fuzz Kitto (heure de l’est australien) +61 (0) 407 931 115 [email protected] (Anglais)
  • Europe de l’Est Kadri Org (heure d’été Europe de l’Est) Tél : +372 56 489 584 [email protected] (Estonien, Anglais)
  • Europe de l’Ouest Esta Steyn (heure d’Europe centrale) +31 6 3457 1595 [email protected](hollandais, Afrikaans)
  • Japon Roger Smith (heure de l’Est étatsunien) [email protected] (Anglais, japonais), Hajime Enomoto (heure normale du Japon), [email protected] (japonais)
  • Royaume Uni Dominic Murphy (heure britannique normale) +44 (0)7943 498239 [email protected](Anglais)
  • Etats-Unis Etelle Higonnet (heure de l’Est étatsunien) +1 202 848 7792. [email protected] (Anglais, français, espagnole, portugais, italien, allemand)
    Afrique de l’Ouest Fofana Mansah Souleymane (heure d’Afrique de l’Ouest) +225 22 42 21 42 [email protected] (Anglais, français)






2022年4月8日 ー「世界チョコレート成績表」は、人権NGOビー・スレイバリー・フリー、マイティ・アース、熱帯林行動ネットワークなど29団体が参加するネットワーク団体「ザ・チョコレート・コレクティブ」によって、チョコレートの取引業者、加工業者、製造業者を含む世界最大のチョコレート企業38社(注1の社会的・環境的影響を評価したものです。







2「チョコレート成績表」は、世界のカカオの約75%が生産されている西アフリカを起点とした生産とサプライチェーンに着目しています。日本のカカオ豆の輸入額(2019年)の 約7割はガーナからのものです。



これまでのマイティ・アースのデータ分析により、注目された「カカオと森林イニシアチブ(The Cocoa and Forests Initiative, CFI)」の発足から4年以上が経過した現在も、アフリカのカカオ生産上位国では、西アフリカでカカオ生産のために広大な面積の貴重な森林が破壊されていることが判明しています。この貴重な森林の消失は、この地域の小規模農家がカカオから生計を立てられず、拡大を余儀なくされていることが原因であることが多いのです。
















調査チーム:Be Slavery Free, Macquarie University (Australia), Wollongong University (Australia), The Open University (UK)

アドバイザー:Forest Trends, International Cocoa Initiative, Pesticide Action Network, Sudwind Institute, VOICE Network

協力団体:Abolishion, ACRATH, Asset Campaign, Baptist World Aid Australia, Child Labor Coalition, EcoCare Ghana, Estwatch, European Freedom Network, Freedom United, Green America, 熱帯林行動ネットワーク, El Llamado del Bosque, マイティ・アース, National Consumer League, National Wildlife Federation, Netzwerk gegen Menschenhandel, RAIN, Roscidet, SIM for Freedom, Unseen.


熱帯林をはじめとした世界の森林の保全のために、森林破壊を招いている日本の木材貿易と木材の浪費社会を改善するための政府、企業、市民の役割を提言し、世界各地の森林について、生物多様性や地域の住民の生活が守られるなど、環境面、社会面において健全な状態にすることを目指しています。団体ウェブサイトには、マイティ・アースが2017年に発表した「Chocolate ‘s Dark Secret」の内容を日本語でまとめた「チョコレートについての基本情報」を用意していますので、ご参考までにお使いください。


マイティ・アース (は、命ある地球の保護活動を行うグローバルなアドボカシー組織です。自然のために地球の半分を守り、命が繁栄できる気候を確保することを目標としています。  当組織のチームは、世界に張り巡らされたパーム油、ゴム、カカオ、飼料などのサプライチェーンにおいて森林破壊と気候変動をもたらす汚染を大幅に削減するよう大手企業を説得し、熱帯地方の先住民族や地域住民の生活向上を図ることにより、変革を実現してきました。

ご連絡先:サミュエル・マウター、ロジャー・スミス [email protected] (日本語対応可)


ビー・スレイバリー・フリーは、市民団体、コミュニティー、およびその他の組織からなる連盟で、ともにオーストラリア、オランダ、そして世界各地で現代版の奴隷労働の防止、廃止、撤廃に向け活動を行っています。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーには、現代版の奴隷労働の防止、撤廃、対策を現地で行ってきた経験があります。特に、サプライチェーンにおける奴隷労働に光を当てることに注力しています。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーが生み出した動きにより、オーストラリアでは現代奴隷法の可決が実現しました。2007年以降はチョコレート業界との取り組みを行い、カカオ生産における児童労働と奴隷労働の問題への対応を求めてきました。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーに関してさらなる情報は、 で公開しています。

ご連絡先:ビー・スレイバリー・フリー(オーストラリア)ファズ・キット+61(0)407-931-115(オーストラリア東部標準時)[email protected]



2022 Easter Chocolate Scorecard Lists Starbucks Among “Broken Eggs”

To download the full Scorecard click here:


Coalition encourages industry to break the links between chocolate products, deforestation, child labor, and environmental degradation

April 7, 2022 – What’s really going into our Easter chocolate? A global coalition of environmental and social justice advocates today released The Chocolate Scorecard, an annual survey that examines the chocolate industry’s progress, or lack thereof, in addressing social and environmental concerns stemming from cocoa industry practices and the chocolate products they sell. The 29-member coalition includes Be Slavery Free, Mighty Earth, and National Wildlife Federation, among others.

The Chocolate Scorecard focuses on the production and supply chains that start in West Africa, where around 75% of the world’s cocoa is produced. Many industry players are rising to the challenge, but others continue to ignore consumer demand for chocolate that’s free of child labor, poverty, deforestation. General Mills, Starbucks, and Storck received the researchers’ “Broken Egg” for their refusal to provide information for The Chocolate Scorecard, while Storck was given an additional "Rotten Egg" for ongoing lack of transparency about its policies and practices in their cocoa supply chain, and in light of civil society complaints about the company.

“It’s disappointing to see companies like Starbucks, which claim to be a leader on sustainability and confronting the climate crisis, refuse to answer straightforward questions about their performance on cocoa sustainability. It’s a real shame in an era of growing transparency that Starbucks refuses to be straight with its customers,” said Glenn Hurowitz, founder and CEO of Mighty Earth. “Mighty Earth will continue to demand transparency and true supply chain sustainability, both for our climate and for the local communities that produce these key commodities.”

This year Ferrero joins the list of “Good Eggs” that includes Hershey’s, Unilever and Ritter, whose cocoa is close to 100% certified by the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.

“While certification is not perfect, it is often a positive first step in a company’s sustainability journey,” said Fuzz Kitto, of Be Slavery Free, the Australia-based charity which coordinated The Chocolate Scorecard. “If companies are making progress on increasing the sustainability of their chocolate supply chains then we and their customers and investors would like to hear about it.”

Special mentions for leadership go to:

  • Previous Scorecard “Good Eggs” Alter Eco, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Whittaker‘s for continuing to be among the best in class overall
  • Nestlé for taking huge steps in innovation for addressing farmers’ income with additional payments and with their commitment to plant 2.8 million shade trees by the end of 2022
  • Ferrero for now joining other companies whose cocoa is overwhelmingly certified such as Hershey’s, Unilever, Fazer and others.

The Scorecard is an accountability measure that rates companies 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 labor. As Christians around the world celebrate Easter by enjoying chocolate products, the coalition urges consumers to use the Scorecard to make smarter, more sustainable purchases that reward good business behavior rather than reinforcing irresponsible practices.

Previous Mighty Earth data analysis has revealed that more than four years after the high-profile launch of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), Africa’s top cocoa-producing nations continue to see huge areas of precious forest being destroyed in West Africa to make room for cocoa production. The loss of these precious forests is often driven by the fact that small farmers in the region do not make a living income from their cocoa, forcing them to expand.

"We are now starting to see many companies make commitments to address farmer poverty and improve cocoa farming livelihoods,” said Sam Mawutor, Policy and Advocacy at Mighty Earth. “This shows chocolate brands are increasingly aware of the problem, which is progress. However, since farmer household poverty drives child labor, chemical use, and forest conversion, we need to see improved collaboration amongst companies at a landscape level. The time for small pet projects is over”.

To download the full report click here: Full Report
To read the methodology used to create the company scores you can find out more here:

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth ( is a global advocacy organization working to defend a living planet.  Our goal is to protect half of Earth for Nature and secure a climate that allows life to flourish.  We are obsessed with impact and aspire to be the most effective environmental advocacy organization in the world. Our team has achieved transformative change by persuading leading industries to dramatically reduce deforestation and  climate pollution throughout their global supply chains in palm oil, rubber, cocoa, and animal feed while improving livelihoods for Indigenous and local communities across the tropics.

Press Contacts:
For general press enquiries contact: Miles Grant, [email protected], (+1) 703-864-9599 (m)
For regional press enquiries, pictures, and expert quotes, contact:

U.S. Cocoa Imports: Secretive mega-traders get the lion’s share. 

Mighty Earth and Stand.Earth partnered together to undertake preliminary cocoa supply chain research to improve our understanding of how cocoa enters the U.S.—the biggest chocolate market in the world. Though the results confirm a lot we know already, some new revelations are stunning. Our findings uncovered a damning story of the action of a few dominant traders, the secrecy in cocoa/chocolate imports, an international web of opaque cocoa-laundering, and a cover-up of corporate value captured from poor producer countries.

These results are from the analysis of vessel tracking and American vessel manifest data from January to October 2020, using various algorithms to clarify the data. We focused on American imports of cocoa from four major cocoa-producing countries: Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, and Peru.

Patterns of exploiting cocoa farmers continue: Our research exposes the extent to which cocoa-producing countries are losing substantial revenue by not exporting directly to consumers, and by exporting raw materials rather than processed cocoa products. This is due to post-colonial models of exploitation of the Global South by predatory Western corporations, unfair trade deals dictated by former colonial powers, and a failure of governance, commitment, and development by cocoa-producing governments. Large volumes of Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa beans are sold to the U.S. via Belgium and Spain, meaning that revenue and profits that could go to farmers are diverted to foreign traders instead.

This also extends to grinding capacity ownership. Cote d’Ivoire's grinding capacity is considerably large—16 percent in 2019—but much of its installed grinding capacity is owned by foreign companies. Although grinding cocoa beans brings more value to the country, capital flight drains most of this revenue from the country. Ghana mostly sells cocoa beans, but comparatively, gains more from the trade due to its less liberalized market where the regulators action reduces the negative market shocks.

The EU exports cocoa into the U.S.: 43 percent of cocoa beans from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire pass through Europe—specifically Spain and Belgium—often re-exported without any value addition. This tells us that whatever the EU decides on cocoa sustainability will have a massive impact on American cocoa trade policy, and vice versa.

Other cocoa laundering countries - Panama and Columbia: Large amounts of Peruvian and Ecuadorian cocoa funnel through Panama and Colombia into the U.S. Yet Panama has never made any sustainable cocoa commitments, has no traceability or transparency goals for cocoa, and is not yet appropriately scrutinized as a major cocoa player. The sustainability of Panama's cocoa industry must be re-examined, and a “Cocoa & Forests Initiative” (CFI) for Panama would be a good start. Colombia has already taken steps with its own “Cocoa, Forests and Peace Initiative” to reform its sector. Our research points to one clear conclusion: this initiative should now cover all cocoa that passes through, not just what Colombians grow.

The irony of traceability: Traceability sheds light on where cocoa comes from to address problems at the farm level, but it also needs to show where cocoa products go. Besides the murkiness of traceability or re-exported cocoa from Europe, there are widespread omissions and normalized errors in American import data. What should be seen in vessel manifest data is often missing or difficult to trace, because shipper and consignee information is removed. Our research shows such a pattern and practice of obfuscation that we must now ask, "What are the importers hiding?" In 2020, 40 million kilos of untraceable chocolate products entered the U.S. The U.S. government must revise its systems to ensure that cocoa becomes traceable to the companies involved in the actual transaction, not just forwarding companies. This means that American data on imports and exports must dramatically improve, and chocolate companies should be obligated by the U.S. authorities to disclose their entire global supply chains at both ends, not just their suppliers.

The EU is far behind on importer-side traceability: While U.S. customs manifest data needs to greatly improve, the EU has a long way to go. Currently, the data ends at the EU ports. The EU’s opaque systems of customs manifest data facilitate concealment of crimes, thus there is no way to trace cocoa from producer countries to processors or manufacturers. This lack of transparency is unacceptable for a major cocoa consumer block like Europe. The EU must urgently reform its customs data to bring it in line with best practices on commodity transparency. France has recently set a new model with reforms for transparency around customs data, which the rest of the EU ought to emulate.

The trader's trick to hide: While beans get sold in vast bulk shipments through integrated supply chains like Olam and Cargill, finished chocolate goes from a wide variety of manufacturers to what seems at first glance to be a wide variety of consignees. A closer look reveals, however, that these are often different iterations of the company name. For instance, we found 35 versions of the name of the world’s largest cocoa trader called ‘Barry Callebaut’ — breaking up the volume across a variety of businesses so that the full size of its monopolies or value of its trade is hidden. After delving into all the versions of names, our research clearly shows how the biggest cocoa traders—Barry Callebaut, Olam, ECOM, Sucden, and Cargill—are running the show. We were even able to pierce through the fog to show how ECOM is the biggest trader of cocoa beans into the U.S., though it masquerades amongst other things behind the name Atlantic Specialty Coffee. If Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Olam, Sucden, ECOM, and other cocoa trading companies are serious about traceability, they should solve this data challenge of nomenclature immediately, with or without American regulatory action. America's largest grinder, Blommer, is conspicuously absent from the consignee space and delivers little or no data on its website to guarantee traceability. If they have nothing to hide, they should publish their names properly on all their transactions–no more games.

 Where do we go: Our research underscores how the Biden administration must act decisively to advance cocoa sustainability and bring together chaotic, siloed, and disparate engagement various government agencies. The U.S. should also seriously consider establishing an "ISCO." The multi-stakeholder platform could bring together the appropriate federal government agencies, NGOs, chocolate manufactures, and cocoa traders together to strengthen the cocoa industry's traceability, transparency, and sustainability. Legislatively, regulation to restrict imported deforestation is long overdue for chocolate and other commodities. And beyond passing legislation, the U.S. must regularly engage with cocoa-producing countries to improve governance and strengthen the voices of farmers and local civil society in cocoa discussions.

Open Letter on Racial Injustice in the Cocoa Sector

To mark Juneteenth 2021, NGOs across the Global North and South published this open letter, calling on all of us to stamp out residual slavery within the chocolate industry and throughout our food production systems. To join us, sign on here...


Open letter about Racial Injustice in the Cocoa Sector Update

It's Juneteenth, but these American companies are still driving slavery

Juneteenth marks the date in 1865 where an estimated 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were freed, marking the official end of slavery in the Confederacy-- two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and six months before the 13th Amendment to the Constitution finally banned slavery nationwide.

As much as Juneteenth is worthy of celebration, liberation is not complete. In our work, the most egregious and direct manifestation of that delayed justice is that American companies and institutions are continuing to drive slavery today at scale. The Emancipation Proclamation may have made it to Texas in 1865, but some companies are acting today as if it still doesn’t apply in their corporate suites. And on Wednesday, those companies got a free pass from the Supreme Court to continue the profit from slavery.  

There is probably no company that better symbolizes continued complicity with slavery than Cargill, America’s largest privately-held company and the world’s largest agribusiness.  Cargill isn’t a household name, but it’s bigger than even Koch industries, and sits astride much of America and the world’s food system. 

Cargill sells the chicken, beef, palm oil, corn, grain, cocoa and many other raw ingredients that’s found in much of what’s sold in supermarkets and restaurants. You may not know it, but you’re probably eating a Cargill product today. For instance, it’s actually Cargill that makes chicken McNuggets and Big Mac patties - and then just sends them to McDonald’s to be warmed up. The company has a terrible and well-documented record of driving destruction of forests, causing outsized climate pollution, and displacing Indigenous communities. 

While the company has many rotten elements, one of the worst is its role in the chocolate industry. Cargill’s agents go out into cocoa-growing regions in West Africa to purchase cocoa and finance expansion of cocoa operations, and then sell that cocoa to large chocolate companies like Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars.

The cocoa sector is notorious for its widespread use of child labor and other abuses-- so much so that in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, groups from both cocoa producing and consuming countries signed an open letter on racial injustice in the cocoa sector.  It is estimated that 1.56 million children work in the cocoa industry; many are forced to use dangerous tools and chemicals and carry enormous weights, in direct violation of international labor standards, the UN convention on child labor, and domestic laws.

While a majority of the child laborers in the cocoa industry are living and working on their parents’ farms, at least 16,000 children, and perhaps many more, are victims of forced labor-- a euphemism for slavery, working on West African cocoa farms far from home. The Washington Post recently did a series of exposés about the extent of this problem and how Cargill and other companies had continued purchases linked to forced child labor for decades after pledging to work to end it. 

Indeed, most cocoa farmers in West Africa earn less than one dollar per day as they grow the raw ingredients that go into Kit-Kats, Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and Nesquik chocolate milk. Living in some of the worst poverty in the world, Cargill and others finance the use of toxic chemicals that create health risks, while overall poverty contributes to related problems such as low life expectancy rates, illiteracy, and malnutrition. Farmers face tremendous obstacles in sending their children to school. 

It’s worth saying today that all of these children are Black and the chocolate companies are run largely by comfortable American and European executives who seem unable to gird themselves to take sufficient action to end their companies’ continued connection to Black slavery more than 150 years after the Civil War.

As a result, a group of formerly enslaved children from Mali sued Cargill and Nestle for buying cocoa from the owners of the farms where they worked under brutal conditions. The plaintiffs provided evidence that Cargill and Nestle representatives had visited the farms, and that the companies had provided financial and technical assistance in exchange for exclusive access to their crops. The plaintiffs sued under the Alien Tort Act which can be used to bring legal accountability for human rights violations and other breaches of international law. 

Unfortunately, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs needed to provide more information to establish their standing to sue, giving Cargill and Nestle at least temporary impunity for their complicity in conditions of slavery. However, the plaintiffs are planning to refile their suit in ways that meet the standards laid out by the Court, though any successful legal action is likely to take years more - cold comfort for the formerly enslaved children.

That doesn’t mean these companies can’t be held accountable. For those looking to go beyond symbolic action on this Juneteenth, consider ways to bring pressure to bear on these companies. Send a message to chocolate companies like Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars asking them to end their connections to slavery. Consider how companies are performing on slavery and child labor when you purchase chocolate - our buying guide is a way to do that. And contact your legislators to urge them to ban import of cocoa and other agricultural goods connected to egregious human rights and environmental abuses.  

So today, celebrate Juneteenth for the progress it brought, but continue the fight against American companies’ ongoing contributions to Black slavery.

Cocoa Agroforestry Conference

Effective agroforestry in cocoa landscapes can restore forests, improve biodiversity, minimize the use of harmful agrochemicals, improve pest management, and improve farmers' income. Join us from May 18th to the 20th, 2021 in our 3-day cocoa agroforestry Conference to explore cocoa agroforestry. For more information about the event, the speakers, and registration, click here.

ISCO Scorecard Examines Public/Private Platforms for Sustainable Cocoa

ISCO Scorecard Examines Public/Private Platforms for Sustainable Cocoa



In the last four years, the chocolate industry has taken on an increasing number of reforms to begin to address deforestation, child labor, and other abuses in the cocoa sector.

Along with other developments for reform, public-private “platforms” for sustainable cocoa commonly referred to as “ISCOs,” have proliferated. ISCOs bring together industry, governmental entities, and civil society organizations in chocolate-consuming countries to promote sustainability in cocoa.

Facilitating these stakeholders to work together, the ISCOs create goals, set targets and monitor progress. ISCOs have tremendous potential to enable industry to transition to sustainable cocoa and we applaud the organizations, companies, and institutions that have joined a cocoa sustainability platform to improve social and environmental performance of the cocoa industry.

However, we fear that despite great intentions, the ISCOs will have difficulty turning commitment into action and that without added pressure from civil society and the public, the ISCOs could become a tool for industry greenwashing. Additionally, if each of the ISCOs develop divergent definitions, ambitions, key performance indicators (KPIs), and cut-off dates, it could lead to chaos in the world of sustainable cocoa, rather than synergistic global pressure for improvement.

Thus, we have created an ISCO scorecard to exert pressure for synergy over divergence, for order over chaos, for high-ambition goals over mediocrity, and to highlight successes. We hope this scorecard can help set the course for ISCOs to meet their potential.

The table below provides an overview of the evaluated platforms:


Table 1: Cocoa Sustainability Platforms Evaluated

Country Platform Date of Launch
Germany The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) June 2012
Switzerland The Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (SWISSCO) January 2018


Beyond Chocolate (the Partnership for a sustainable Belgian chocolate industry referred herein as ‘BISCO’) December 2018
Japan  The Platform for Sustainable Cocoa for Developing Countries (herein unofficially dubbed ‘JAPANISCO’) January 2020
Netherlands The Dutch Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (DISCO)


August 2020
France The Syndicat du Chocolat (‘FRISCO’) of France
USA The United States has failed to begin to develop a platform for industry, government, and civil society to come together and hammer out a way forward for sustainable cocoa imports. N/A
UK Likewise, the United Kingdom has failed for its inaction.





The 12 sustainability criteria include the platforms’ structure, commitments, goals, activities, and policy positions on issues such as traceability and transparency, deforestation, agroforestry, use of chemicals, and child labor. Some of these criteria, such as deforestation, are also familiar to anyone who has read any of Mighty Earth’s publications on cocoa. Most notably, many of these criteria are highlighted in our past Easter Scorecards, wherein we have ranked and graded cocoa traders, manufacturers, and supermarkets on their environmental and social performance, allocating “good,” “medium,” and “bad” markers for performance on individual criteria and  scores for overall corporate performance. Just as cocoa traders and chocolate manufacturers must be held accountable and scored, so too must the platforms that are seeking to reform cocoa at a national level.

Most ISCOs performed well on overall ambition of their platforms, accessibility of information and efforts to address child labor categories. GISCO deserves special recognition for leading the pack.  All platforms, however, failed on traceability and transparency of cocoa supply chains and performed poorly on deforestation and climate.  This shows the urgent need to contribute to joint monitoring mechanisms, like our Accountability Map, or those promised in 2017 by the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI).  Platforms should also adopt CFI’s cut off date of 2018, at a minimum, in order to discourage trade of cocoa produced on land cleared after that date.  WIth so much deforestation for cocoa production over the past thirty years, especially in West Africa, platforms need to go further to invest resources in conservation and restoration.  Finally, another area calling for vast improvement is chemical management– growing cocoa should not be synonymous with poisoning farmers, especially children.

For newly established platforms such as DISCO, FRISCO and JAPANISCO, this scorecard can help shape discussions on how the platform will address key issues. For markets that may be considering developing a platform like in the US or UK, this scorecard serves as a place to start.

Action in Japan to create JAPANISCO comes at a fortuitous time, as its creation roughly coincided with the laudable new Japanese government commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. With Japan poised as a global leader that is setting a model for other countries to make similar commitments, it will be crucial for all Japanese industries to take action to meet the official national goals, including in the chocolate industry. Thanks to the nascent JAPANISCO, in coming years, the Japanese chocolate industry now has a ready-made forum and system wherein they can collectively strive for zero imported deforestation and promotion of agroforestry, both of which can reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Given Japanese industry’s demonstrated ability to innovate quickly, we hope and believe that JAPANISCO will have success in the cocoa industry and can evolve into a vital model for all cross-commodity zero-deforestation platform for the Japanese food and agriculture industry, encompassing other key feedstocks such as palm oil and helping Japan in the race to net zero.

We embarked on this ranking project to encourage a race to the top and incentivize platforms to learn from each other and help each other do better.  It is in this spirit that we encourage all platforms to urgently address all of the critiques in this paper and thus help push the cocoa industry further along the path to true sustainability.

See the full report here.

Retailer Scorecard 2021

Easter is one of the biggest chocolate buying seasons. Mighty Earth and the National Wildlife Federation in the USA and Be Slavery Free in the Netherlands and Australia; assessed retailers from around the world on their contribution to driving positive change in the chocolate and cocoa industry.  Brands and processors were ranked separately in an earlier release.

The retailers selected, 36 in all, are some of the largest and most influential in Europe and the UK, the US, Brazil, Australia/New Zealand, and other chocolate consuming countries. Those retailers selected for this ranking have a choice: they can either take a large toll on the farmers and ecosystems in cocoa growing regions around the world or make a big positive impact for people and the planet.

Retailers and supermarkets make the most money in the chocolate value chain-- taking at least 40% of the price consumers pay for a bar of chocolate. These super beneficiaries need to own their responsibility for the cocoa sector and not just for their own branded products but also for the procurement policies for the other chocolates products they stock.  The potential for a truly industry wide, farmer to consumer, sustainability movement exists.

But many of these retailers have thus far refused to engage in relevant ethical trade platforms such as the Retailer Cocoa Coalition or the Cocoa and Forest Initiative or opened up to engage more broadly with civil society on their cocoa supply chains.

Some of these same retailers have made progress with their commitment to sustainability in other commodities-- albeit spotty, but have been slow to extend such measures to cocoa.

Retailers like Rewe, Ahold Delhaize, Coop Switzerland, Sainsbury’s, Woolworths (Australia) Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord stand out when compared to their colleagues. Supermarkets in the US need to do much more to ensure the sustainability of their cocoa products they sell.

You can find the full methodology on the Retailer’s Easter Scorecard here.

世界チョコレート成績表: 日本企業は児童労働と持続可能性の取り組みスコアが芳しくない結果に

世界チョコレート成績表: 日本企業は児童労働と持続可能性の取り組みスコアが芳しくない結果に

2021 年 3 月 19 日

マイティー・アース(Mighty Earth)

[email protected]


ワシントンDC – 環境問題と人権問題に先頭に立って取り組む非営利団体であるマイティー・アース(米国)、ビー・スレイバリー・フリー(オーストラリア、オランダ)、グリーン・アメリカ(米国)、インコタ(ドイツ)、および全米野生生物連盟(米国)が、毎年発表するチョコレート成績表を公開しました。チョコレート成績表は、世界最大手のカカオ取引会社、チョコレートメーカー、および小売会社を評価するものです。チョコレートメーカーはいまだにカカオ生産に関連する社会問題や環境問題の解決に至っていない実態が、成績表から明らかになりました。日本はアジア最大のチョコレート市場で、2018年の小売売上高は約5100億円を記録しました。しかし、日本企業は調査対象となった企業の最下位付近との結果になりました。



  • アルテル・エコ。米国に拠点を置く企業で、商品は米国とヨーロッパで流通しています。今回初めて優良賞を受賞しました。
  • トニーズ・チョコロンリー。オランダに拠点を置く多国籍企業で、2年連続で優良賞を受賞しました。
  • ウィッタカーズ。ニュージーランドに拠点を置く企業で、商品は主にオーストラリアとニュージーランドで販売されています。同地域は2年連続で優良賞を受賞しています。












  • 成績表の採点方法はこちらで公開しています。
  • イースター成績表2021(英語)はこちらで公開しています。
  • 昨年までの成績表(英語)はこちらで公開しています。202020192018
  • 日本とチョコレートに関する問題についてのファクトシートはこちらで公開しています。
  • 日本のチョコレートメーカーに関するプレゼンテーションはこちらで公開しています。



ビー・スレイバリー・フリーは、市民団体、コミュニティー、およびその他の組織からなる連盟で、ともにオーストラリア、オランダ、そして世界各地で現代版の奴隷労働の防止、廃止、撤廃に向け活動を行っています。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーには、現代版の奴隷労働の防止、撤廃、対策を現地で行ってきた経験があります。特に、サプライチェーンにおける奴隷労働に光を当てることに注力しています。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーが生み出した動きにより、オーストラリアでは現代奴隷法の可決が実現しました。2007年以降はチョコレート業界との取り組みを行い、カカオ生産における児童労働と奴隷労働の問題への対応を求めてきました。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーに関してさらなる情報は、 で公開しています。


グリーン・アメリカは、米国を代表するグリーン・エコノミー推進組織で、米国の消費者、投資家、企業、そして市場が誇る経済力を活用して、社会正義にかなった、環境面でも持続可能な社会の創出をミッションとしています。1982年に立ち上げられたグリーン・アメリカは、企業や個人に経済面の戦略、組織力、そして実践的なツールを提供することで、今日の社会問題や環境問題の解決を目指しています。グリーン・アメリカに関してさらなる情報は、 で公開しています。





連絡先:日本の連絡先:ロジャー・スミス、[email protected]


全米野生生物連盟は米国最大の自然保護団体で、600万人を超える会員を誇ります。様々な境遇の米国人が協力して、野生生物の声なき声をすくいあげる活動をしています。全米野生生物連盟は、1936年から最前線で野生生物のための活動をしてきました。その中で求めてきた自然保護を重んじる価値観とは、米国全体のこれまでの遺産の中に深く浸透しているものです。全米野生生物連盟が海外で行うプログラムにおいては、天然資源の経済学、リモートセンシングと全地球的情報システム、国際法、そして熱帯地域の生態学に関する専門知識を組み合わせることで、それぞれの市場に特化したソリューションや公共政策を推進し、熱帯雨林の喪失を食い止めています。全米野生生物連盟では、「森林破壊ゼロ」農業を推進し、森林や野生生物への影響が最も大きい作物に活動の焦点を当てています。全米野生生物連盟に関してさらなる情報は、 で公開しています。

Easter Scorecard: Chocolate Companies Earn "Rotten" & "Good" Eggs for Child Labor & Sustainability Practices

Easter Scorecard: Chocolate Companies Earn "Rotten" & "Good" Eggs for Child Labor & Sustainability Practices

2021 Easter Scorecard: “Rotten Egg Award” Goes to Storck, While Alter Eco, Tony’s Chocolonely and Whittaker’s Get “Good Egg” Awards; Godiva Improves From 2020 Last Place Showing.

Washington, D.C.Ahead of Easter, many of the world’s biggest cocoa traders, chocolate manufacturers and retailers are still failing to address social and environmental concerns, according to the 2021 joint Easter Scorecard published by Be Slavery Free, Green America, INKOTA, Mighty Earth, and National Wildlife Federation. 

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

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

  • 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. 
  • Tony’s Chocolonely, a Netherlandsbased multinational company, received the Good Egg for the second time in a row. 
  • Whittaker’s, from New Zealand with products available primarily in Australia and New Zealand, also received the Good Egg for the second year in a row. 

Previous Rotten Egg “winners” have since substantially improved their performance on sustainability across the board. 2020 Rotten Egg recipient Godiva made major progress on living income policies and its environmental work, and 2019 Rotten Egg recipient Sucden 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 National Wildlife Federation Senior Advisor Etelle Higonnet. “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.” 

The groups surveyed 31 chocolate companies and cocoa suppliers, estimated to be supplying over 80 percent of the world’s chocolate confectionery. 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 labor. 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.  

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 labor, farmer poverty, or deforestation. Companies must have fully traceable supply chains, paired with transparent reporting.” 

Besides the traceability trend, the scorecard provides a snapshot on farmer income. “A staggering 180 million wrapped or boxed eggs are purchased for Easter every year. That doesn’t include mini or creme eggs which are huge sellers. Not enough of the chocolate industry’s money goes to countries where cocoa is grown, or to cocoa farmers themselves,” said Fuzz Kitto, Co-National Director of Be Slavery Free in Australia. “Most cocoa farmers earn under $1 per day, with women farmers making as little as $0.30 daily – they are especially hard hit by economic disruption in this pandemic.”  

Another trend in the Easter scorecard is the slow but steady improvement of Japanese companies on certain sustainability metrics over the past four years. However, Japanese chocolate companies still need stronger policies with monitoring and enforcement to end child labor, poverty and deforestation in their cocoa supply chains. The Japanese sector must evolve quickly to avoid underperforming relative to its global peers. The creation of a new “cocoa platform” launched by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2020 could be the key to address sustainability problems industry-wide by bringing together government, industry, and non-profits. 

“The scorecard also shows that the pace for adopting agroforestry and more climate friendly farming practices is much slower than required,” said Samuel Mawutor, Senior Advisor at Mighty Earth. Transforming the cocoa sector from the problematic monocultures cannot be possible without a stronger focus on forest and farm restoration through agroforestry. He notes that “companies need to transition from tree seedling distribution and invest many more resources into growing and nurturing planted trees on cocoa farms and tree tenure security to ensure the uptake of agroforestry at scale across West Africa.”

“This scorecard sets the record straight on greenwashing versus real action,” said Johannes Schorling, Campaign Coordinator at INKOTA. “Despite decades of voluntary industry commitments, poverty, hazardous child labor, and deforestation are still widespread in the cocoa sector. Most companies have only started to carry out due diligence, and many gaps remain. This corporate underperformance shows that we need robust due diligence legislation.

For more about the methodology of the Scorecard, see here.


About Mighty Earth 

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. Mighty Earth works to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights – including in the cocoa sector. Mighty Earth’s team has played a decisive role in persuading some of the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at  

About Be Slavery Free 

Be Slavery Free is a coalition of civil society, community and other organisations working together to prevent, abolish and disrupt modern slavery in Australia, the Netherlands  and around the world. Be Slavery Free has on the ground experience in preventing, disrupting and remediating modern slavery, with a particular focus on shining a light on slavery in supply chains. Be Slavery Free helped build momentum to pass Australia’s Modern Slavery Act. Since 2007 they have been working with the chocolate industry, advocating for addressing child labour and slavery in cocoa. More information on Be Slavery Free can be found at  

About Green America 

Green America is America’s leading green economy organization, whose mission is to harness US economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Founded in 1982, Green America provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. More information on Green America can be found at  

About Inkota 

INKOTA has spent the last 50 years campaigning to end hunger and poverty and make globalization work for all. With targeted campaigns, INKOTA aims to raise public awareness in Germany for the darker sides of globalization and the importance of human rights. INKOTA coordinates the “Make Chocolate Fair!” campaign, which advocates for better living conditions for cocoa farmers in West Africa. Furthermore, INKOTA cooperates with civil society partner organizations in the global South, helping them to campaign for justice and equality in their home countries. More information on Inkota can be found at  

About the National Wildlife Federation 

The National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest conservation organization with over 6 million members, works to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice. NWF has been on the front lines for wildlife since 1936, fighting for the conservation values that are woven into the fabric of America’s collective heritage. NWF’s international program combines expertise in natural resource economics, remote sensing and GIS, international law, and tropical ecology to advance market-based solutions and public policy to eliminate tropical forest loss. NWF promotes “zero deforestation” agriculture, focusing on commodities with the greatest impacts on forests and wildlife. More information on NWF can be found at  

Cocoa Agroforestry Library


The Cocoa Agroforestry Library is an electronic library of all publicly available scientific literature on cocoa agroforestry intended for wide use by industry, governments, academics, activists, farmer groups, and others. This is published in collaboration with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. The catalogue will be a living library: we welcome anyone to suggest additional literature or reports for inclusion by emailing [email protected]. You can search through the library here.

We aim for this library to inspire academic or research institutions to review this information and publish new syntheses that make this information more accessible to governments, industry, and other groups throughout cocoa supply chains.  

There are clear cross-sectoral opportunities, but we have chosen to keep this cocoa-specific to increase its relevance to the cocoa industry. However, it is our expectation that this type of library should be created for other commodities as well. 



Each day, it is estimated that 1 billion people eat chocolate (Nils-Gerrit Wunsch, 2020). The vast majority of these chocolate lovers are based in developed nations such as Switzerland, Germany, US, and Japan. Yet, cocoa, the necessary ingredient for chocolate, is a fruit native to the lowland rainforest of the Amazon and, since the late 1970’s, is produced mainly in West Africa. Today, about 60% of cocoa is produced in just two countries: Ivory Coast and Ghana. Most cocoa is grown on small holder farms that have replaced native forests – threatening the well-being of people and wildlife. Opportunities exist to change the way cocoa is produced that can benefit people and nature.  

This library consists of the bulk of scientific knowledge on the issue of cocoa agroforestry. The research conducted to develop this electronic library revealed an extensive wealth of information, which is now all collected in one place for the first time, and is categorized and searchable.  

Information had previously been spread across many reports and sources. This library now makes it easy for industry, government, and other stakeholders to have readily available access to information and can make decisions based on the best available science. Lack of access to information may have hindered industry and government decision-makers in the past, but no longer. This digital library puts to rest any claims about a lack of actionable data. 

One crucial takeaway from this work for industry and governments is that more pilots and research are welcome, but should not be essential for action – there is enough information already developed to be making well-informed decisions about how to transition all global cocoa from monoculture to agroforestry systems; and where agroforestry systems are already present, how to protect and enhance them. 

We have identified which articles are review articles vs case studies so that governments and industry can identify the big guiding principles with review articles, and then go deeper when needed or appropriate with case studies or regional studies. 

Our research reveals a clear knowledge gap, however: there are not enough practitioners’ guides to help ensure smooth implementation. These must be developed, preferably through joint industry action, to ensure the efficiency and efficacy of agroforestry practices and programs, rather than the expensive and unnecessary duplication of efforts.


What the data tells us about agroforestry cocoa: big picture 

A handful of key themes emerge from a review of the data. 

  1. Cocoa yields can remain high in cocoa agroforestry systems, but how to achieve this varies by region. Maximizing cocoa yields in agroforestry systems depends in part on tree species selection and spacing and in part on other management actions such as water and soil management, associated soil and water management regimes.  
  2. Agroforestry cocoa is better for farmer income in many cases, largely because it provides income diversification, food security, and ecosystem services that reduce dependence on costly inputs. 
  3. Regional variation is real, and regional context is important. It is now possible to see what is known for your issue, country, and region, not just global generic information. 
  4. Biodiversity and soil health are clear winners in agroforestry cocoa systems. 
  5. Agroforestry presents opportunities to decrease use of chemical inputs, which benefits the health of humans and the environment.  
  6. There is a strong case to study and incorporate indigenous knowledge and innovations in cocoa agroforestry systems.

Threats, challenges, and problems in agroforestry cocoa 

We can clearly note from our literature review that some major challenges exist, which must be overcome for cocoa agroforestry to succeed at scale. 

  1. There is not enough agroforestry cocoa. Cocoa monocultures may maximize short term profits and yields in some cases, but monocultures have short life spans and are linked to disease outbreaks and rapid soil degradation. Monoculture cocoa should be eliminated from supply chains and converted to sustainable agroforestry systems. (For additional information on this position, see the Voice paper on agroforestry cocoa) 
  2. Worldwide, both forest and agroforestry cocoa are still being converted to monoculture or near-monoculture at alarming rates. This exacerbates issues related to climate resilience, farm sustainability, and biodiversity loss.  
  3. There is a dearth of well-planned agroforestry cocoa that optimizes yields, ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, and farmer profits. 
  4. Success of agroforestry implementation depends on farmer inclusion in the decision-making process. When farmers are absent from tree species selection and agroforestry design, many endeavors fail. Understanding what farmers need and want for local foods, income diversification, a farm system lies at the heart of building a successful agroforestry cocoa system. Co-development is critical, but not often done, and is one of the primary reasons why agroforestry initiatives frequently fail to increase the number of trees in cocoa farms.  

Knowledge gaps remain that must be filled 

We provide a cursory review of the biggest knowledge gaps in the literature. This is not meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it is our hope that researchers will read each other’s work, assess the overall body of literature, exchange insights, and work together to fill these research gaps in future endeavors.  

  1. There is a clear lack of research to increase the sustainability of cocoa farms with lower sustainability outcomes or scale up sustainable cocoa agroforestry. There are many studied examples of cocoa agroforestry systems with high environmental, social, and economic sustainability outcomes, but very few cases that test the application of these lessons or approaches in other contexts. 
  2. The interactions between agroforestry structure and local climate is understudied. This includes farm micro-climate and local rainfall and drought patterns. Such  interactions are likely to increase in importance given predicted changes in climate and extreme weather events within cocoa growing regions. 
  3. Indigenous knowledge in shaping agroforestry systems is inadequately discussed and under-studied; especially in the Amazon/Central America. 
  4. While the relationship between cocoa agriculture and biodiversity is addressed in many studies, there is a need for greater synthesis of biodiversity studies at the regional level, as well as regional assessments of how forest cover, shade cover, tree diversity, and other cocoa management practices affect biodiversity at both farm and regional scales. 
  5. Biodiversity studies typically measure the number of plant and animal species found on cocoa farms, but studies of how animals use cocoa farms or how cocoa farms impact demographics of wildlife populations are absent, expect for a few mammal species. As a result, there are virtually no recommendations about how cocoa farms can be managed to increase wildlife survival, such as limiting agrochemical usage or retaining tree species that are disproportionately used for food, nesting, or movement.  
  6. Pollination services tend to be greater in cocoa agroforests than monocultures, but cocoa pollination is understudied in general. 
  7. There is hardly any research on native bees and cocoa, a missed opportunity considering that the combination of agroforestry cocoa and honey/beekeeping could provide income diversification for farmers as well as pollination benefits for the greater ecosystem. 

Mighty Earth’s Cocoa Accountability Map 3.0 Reveals 47,000 Hectares of Deforestation in Prominent Cocoa-Growing Regions of West Africa


In the launch of its third update of the Cocoa Accountability Map, the global environmental campaign organization, Mighty Earth, revealed that 47,000 hectares of deforestation―more than four times the size of the city of Paris―has occurred in cocoa-growing regions of Côte d'Ivoire, in the past year. This is despite the government and the cocoa industry’s commitment to reach zero deforestation and establish a joint monitoring mechanism under the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI). The insight draws on data from the satellite-based Forest Disturbance Early Warning System, which shows nearly 70,000 hectares of forest disturbance in the world’s largest cocoa-producing country.

In collaboration with Map Hubs and Vivid Economics - IMAGES, the groundbreaking resource now empowers companies and the government to better execute monthly due diligence investigations. Covering almost 2,000 cocoa co-ops in Côte D’Ivoire, the third version of the interactive map and integrated database allows users to examine deforestation patterns; gain access to deforestation alert maps, a map of child labor and a list of legally regulated pisteurs; and consult its Deforestation Risk Index to predict deforestation in the future.

The Cocoa Accountability Map 3.0 is widely expected to contribute to the growing traceability and transparency revolution by including newly disclosed information about nearly every major cocoa and chocolate company’s cocoa supply chain within Côte D’Ivoire. It also showcases cocoa supply chain research created by Trase, revealing international trade flows of cocoa from Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

“The Cocoa Accountability Map 3.0 builds upon the trailblazing work Mighty Earth is doing to establish a joint monitoring mechanism for cocoa,” said Samuel Mawutor, Senior Advisor at Mighty Earth. “Though there are several industry players making great strides to disclose more information about their global supply chain, the industry is still lacking in transparency and accountability. This map fills in the gap and does the work that industry and the government promised to do under the CFI. We’re proud to collaborate with partners Vivid Economics, Trase and Enveritas to make it more effective to monitor the environment and human rights at the same time.”

“Mighty Earth's work to improve transparency in the cocoa industry in Cote d'Ivoire is urgent and very important,” said Drissa Bamba, President of the Ivorian Human Rights Movement. “As an organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights, we can only welcome this commitment and invite other stakeholders―government, traders, and companies―to give it their full support. This will improve the good governance of the sector and put an end to many human rights violations.”

Despite the contributions of leading cocoa and chocolate companies, there are many that still have not yet adequately responded to instances of deforestation in their supply chains and are still grappling with how to increase the traceability of their product beyond the co-op level.

“Mighty Earth calls on all companies to immediately publish their supply chain on their website, including all their indirect supply chains, SPOTT market purchases and pisteurs.” said Amourlaye Toure, Senior Advisor at Mighty Earth. “No company can be deemed sustainable if it embraces opacity. There is so much to be done for the traceability and transparency revolution to bear real fruit.”

The Cocoa Accountability Map 3.0 is the third version of a map Mighty Earth launched in 2020 to promote transparency in the cocoa supply chains ―in a $100 billion industry that continues to struggle with eliminating deforestation and child labor practices. Since then, Mighty Earth has continuously improved the tool, encouraging interested parties to submit additional information. In the near future, Mighty Earth will release its cocoa supply chain research of the United States based on an analysis of the country’s customs data.


About Mighty Earth
Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights. Mighty Earth’s team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at



2021 年 2 月 10 日


マイティー・アース(Mighty Earth)
[email protected]



東京、2021年2月10日—  バレンタインデーを前に、世界的な環境キャンペーン団体であるマイティ・アースとオーストラリアのビー・スレイバリー・フリー(Be Slavery Free)は、日本の主要な生産者やブランドを対象に人権や環境への影響を評価するツール「ジャパン・チョコレート・ガイド」の第一弾を発表しました。

バレンタインデー チョコレートガイド

マイティー・アースは、日本の主要なチョコレートブランドとカカオサプライヤーである不二製油ホールディングス(ブロマー・チョコレート・ホールディングス)、伊藤忠商事、明治、森永の4社を対象に、チョコレート業界が直面している最も差し迫った問題である、人権リスクの特定、透明性とトレーサビリティー、森林破壊と気候変動、アグロフォレストリー、生計維持所得ポリシー、児童労働と化学物質管理の7つの分野について、各企業の方針を調査しました。その評価方法はこちらで ご覧いただけます。






Be Slavery Freeはオーストラリアを拠点とし、世界各地で現代奴隷制の防止、中断、廃止に向けて活動する約30の組織からなる連合体です。また、オーストラリア現代奴隷法の制定にも関与しています。

Cote d'Ivoire CFI Report Presentation: First Two Years of Implementation

Today, Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Cameroon, officially joined the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) Launched at the end of 2017 during CoP23, the CFI aims at ending deforestation in cocoa, promoting the sustainability of cocoa production, intensification of agroforestry, preservation and rehabilitation of forests, and enhancing social inclusion.  As a new producer country joins this initiative, it is worthwhile to carefully examine Côte d'Ivoire’s progress detailed in their recently published implementation report for the first two years of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI).

When the CFI was first proposed Mighty Earth was strongly supportive and hopeful.  The CFI promised to bring together a synergy of action between public and private sector, to end deforestation in the world’s top two cocoa-producing countries of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. For the first time, producing countries and the cocoa and chocolate industry were collaborating to fight against the crucial problem of ecosystem destruction and its pernicious effects on humans and the climate, particularly rainfall loss which is already severely affecting both countries.

Indeed, the Côte d’Ivoire has lost 80%- 90% of its forest cover, and Ghana’s losses are close behind – with one third of their forest loss due to cocoa. These two countries have had some of the worst rates of intensification of deforestation in the world, for decades.

However, CFI has not lived up to its promises.

One year in, Mighty Earth undertook a landmark investigation and published results in the report “Behind the Wrapper,” showing how CFI had failed to curb deforestation in cocoa. Our report broke down in detail how the dire trends of forest destruction were continuing despite CFI promises, using satellite maps and analysis of the data they provide as well as evidence from our field investigation.

Two years in, Mighty Earth took a deep dive into CFI itself. We published a paper <> detailing exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of CFI were, and how to address the flaws undergirding CFI’s persistent failures. These included CFI’s unwillingness to include key stakeholders like farmer groups or NGOs; lack of serious engagement by CCC and COCOBOD; refusal to address drivers of forest loss in cocoa such as corruption or low prices and shoddy tree tenure/land tenure systems. Most importantly, our paper honed in on a crucial reason why CFI has not delivered as expected: the lack of a joint monitoring mechanism.

Because CFI failed to establish a joint monitoring mechanism for either Ghana or Côte d’Ivoire as promised, Mighty Earth has endeavored to create one by ourselves, without any financing or help from the billion-dollar chocolate industry nor from the governments that ought to have done this work. We have provided a “Cocoa Accountability Page” (soon to reach version 3.0) to compensate for the abysmal failure of CFI, industry and government. Our page and the maps on it showcase

  • Land use maps
  • Deforestation data
  • Coop and pisteur data
  • Supply chain data
  • Analysis of what the satellite maps tell us about trends in deforestation for cocoa
  • Forecasting of where deforestation is likely to occur

It is urgent that CFI take action to establish – as promised in November 2019 – joint monitoring mechanisms for Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and now Cameroon that are at least as good as what Mighty Earth has developed. Efforts that are currently afoot to develop sub-standard monitoring are not acceptable.

Having reviewed these key weaknesses, Mighty Earth does note that CFI has been able to arrive at some notable achievements in two years of implementation. The main ones include:

  • a strengthened legal framework with a new Ivorian forest code (Law No. 2019-675 of 23 July 2019 and other relevant texts
  • some small steps towards tree tenure reform
  • acceptance of monitoring tools including satellite observation
  • better equipment for the structures in charge of surveillance
  • intensive reforestation actions
  • the implementation of awareness-raising and repression measures

Ultimately, to meet its commitments, CFI must build on these achievements. The provision of necessary resources must be accompanied by a more structured and clear political will and a strengthened and inclusive approach. Indeed, farmers and civil society are not sufficiently taken into account, and in an equal manner, in the design, implementation, and monitoring of the initiative.

Hopes remain high for CFI's ability to reverse the curve of uncontrolled deforestation and introduce innovations in the cocoa sector that will benefit the weakest actors in the value chain, i.e., the producers and the populations in the production areas.

Cameroon’s CFI agreement "was developed through a participatory process that brought together about 200 representatives from the public sector, private sector, civil society organizations and other experts at national and global level over the course of 2019-2020". In the words of the event's presentation, this framework for action is "a multi-stakeholder agreement through which the Cameroonian government, cocoa companies, farmers organizations, Civil Society Organizations and research institutions commit to working together, both technically and financially, towards the sustainable production and marketing of cocoa, the preservation and rehabilitation of forests and the inclusion of cocoa farming communities in Cameroon."

Contrary to what was observed in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, Cameroon must immediately implement its commitments with all stakeholders' participation in the sector and carry out effective monitoring and make the high ambitions a reality.

Supreme Court Must Hold Cargill and Nestle Accountable for Child Slavery

Today, lawyers representing former child slaves working in cocoa will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in Nestlé USA, Inc. v. John Doe I and Cargill, Inc. v. John Doe I. Six children who were trafficked, enslaved and forced to harvest cocoa for the cocoa industry first sued Nestle and Cargill in 2005 under the Alien Tort Statute. After the Court of Appeals ruled for the second time that the case could move forward, the companies appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

Last night, Mighty Earth staged a protest to help put Cargill’s abuses on the spotlight. Volunteers gathered in front of the Supreme Court and projected the message “Cargill is GUILTY”. 

Today, in advance of oral arguments, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Etelle Higonnet released the following statement:

“Nestle and Cargill’s request to the Supreme Court is as simple as it is audacious: they are demanding immunity from international law for human rights violations. Rather than work to stop child slavery, Nestle and Cargill want legal immunity to continue profiting from it. If these companies win their case, it would set a dangerous precedent undermining the rule of law.

“The Roberts Court has long been a friend to big business, but is it really about to endorse an effort to legalize child slavery for corporations?

“As Americans rose up to protest for racial justice this year, Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan put out a statement purporting to ‘stand with all who have spoken up to say Black lives matter.’ Unfortunately, lip service to justice movements has been easier to deploy than meaningful efforts to definitively end child slavery and address other horrors in the company’s massive supply chain, including labor abuses, rampant deforestation, and the reckless use of dangerous pesticides that can be particularly harmful to the health of children still unjustly employed in cocoa.

“We call on Cargill and Nestle to abandon these harmful legal arguments for corporate impunity and establish meaningful, independent monitoring and certification systems that ensure no cocoa tied to social or environmental abuses enters their supply chains.”

Additional Resources

Cocoa Barometer 2020 demands system change to end cocoa poverty

After two decades of failed interventions across the cocoa sector, cocoa farming communities are still battling the effects of poverty, child labour and deforestation. The 2020 Cocoa Barometer report published this week is a rallying call to action: it outlines the necessary steps governments and industry should take, together with farmers and civic society organisations, to end deforestation and human rights abuses in cocoa supply chains.

As a biennial review of sustainability in the cocoa sector, the 2020 Cocoa Barometer report provides stark details of how little positive impact current and past interventions are having for the farmers at the beginning of the supply chain. Twenty years into rhetoric, the challenges on the ground remain as large as ever. Poverty is still the daily reality for virtually all West African cocoa farmer families, child labour remains rife and old growth forests continue to be cleared to make way for cocoa production.

Now is an important window of opportunity to move towards justice, as momentum for change is gathering across different stakeholders. Thanks to campaigning civil society organisations, the last two years have seen an increasing number of chocolate companies asking for regulation; significant global actors like the EU are committed to putting legislation in place; and the world’s two largest producers of cocoa, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, have formed a cartel to drive up the price for cocoa farmers.

“After two decades of voluntary initiatives that do not tackle the root causes, it is time for systemic change in the sector,” says Cocoa Barometer co-author Antonie C. Fountain of the VOICE Network. “All the ingredients are there to make it work, but it is now time to move forward, and put in place ambitious, holistic and mandatory change, so that we can finally tackle the poverty, child labour and deforestation in cocoa.”

But to seize this moment, it is vital that the sector learns from its mistakes, or it risks repeating them. The report finds that the last two decades of interventions have failed for three main reasons.

First, efforts have only been voluntary, not mandatory, meaning that across the sector, actors are failing to do what they need to. Within the multitude of government-driven covenants, national multi-stakeholder platforms and sector-wide collaborations, there are no penalties for non-compliance from companies or governments, nor enforcement to meet targets. Ironically, however, those at the bottom – cocoa farmers often living below the poverty line – do lose their sustainable cocoa certification if they do not comply. Whilst we’ve seen a significant increase in regulatory processes and commitments to due diligence, they are limited without accountability, transparency and equitable enforcement.

Second, whilst bad farming practice has been addressed, the underlying problems that exacerbate extreme poverty – including low cocoa prices, lack of infrastructure and no transparency and accountability as you move higher in the supply chain – remain unchallenged and unsolved. There needs to be recognition that in its current form, the business model for high yields of cocoa means poverty for farmers and excessive profit for chocolate manufacturers. It’s time this changed.

Thirdly, efforts to solve complex issues of injustice and unsustainability in the cocoa sector have not been inclusive or holistic enough. Instead of inviting farmers and civic society to take a respected seat at the decision-making table, problems have been assessed using a top-down industry-based approach. This serves the interests of industry and government, rather than the producer farmers and their communities.

“We are at the crossroads” says Isaac Gyamfi, managing director for Solidaridad in West Africa. “Do we continue skirting around the issue of farmers wellbeing, or will all stakeholders together radically redesign value distribution and decision making in the cocoa sector? Let’s make space at the table and assure a living income, for both farmers and workers”.

Acknowledging how previous interventions have failed points us to alternative pathways that can put an end to deforestation, poverty and human rights abuses in cocoa supply chains. The report makes three key recommendations:

1. Regulation that changes the system, rather than penalising the farmers

Recognising that bad farming is not the problem, but rather a symptom of a deeply unfair system, the report advocates for systems change and regulation that creates an enabling environment. Current forms of certification and farm-based standards increase pressure on farmers: instead, we need laws that hold the powerful accountable, rather than systems that demand farmers to solve systemic issues. Compliance criteria are imbalanced and need restructuring so that companies are held accountable to due diligence systems.

2. Effective partnerships between producer and consumer countries

We need partnership agreements between producer and consumer countries that facilitate and finance system change, ensuring the right policies are in place. Processes that set partnerships in motion should be inclusive and deliberative, ensuring that civil society and farmer groups have a respected voice at decision-making tables.

3. Deliver on a fair price for farmers

The single biggest positive impact for farmers and incentive for farming sustainably is delivering a fair price for the cocoa they produce. Cocoa and chocolate companies must find ways to redistribute value along the supply chain so that farmers are guaranteed a living income.

Sandra Sarkwah, Coordinator for the Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), supports the publication of the Cocoa Barometer 2020. “Efforts of sector players to change the story of farmers keep on beating about the bush when evidence presents to us the plight of farmers, thus, low income from their hard work is a major threat to cocoa sustainability” she said. “Processors, chocolate manufacturing companies and retailers who earn a large chunk from the value chain must be fair to farmers by paying a living income and this must reach the farmer”. As recommended in the report, Sarkwah confirms “this will require the efforts of various actors, including civil society organisations in both producing and consuming countries, as well as strong farmer cooperatives to demand transparency and accountability for effective delivery of pricing policies for better farm gate prices for farmers”.

The full 2020 Cocoa Barometer report can be read here:

The Cocoa Barometer is published biennially by a global consortium of civil society actors; ABVV/Horval, Be Slavery Free, European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT), Fair World Project, Fern, Green America, Hivos, INKOTA-netzwerk, International Labor Rights Forum, Mighty Earth, Oxfam America, Oxfam Belgium, Rikolto, Solidaridad, Südwind Institut, Tropenbos International.

Editorial, not for publication
The 2020 Cocoa Barometer, an Executive Summary, an FAQ, separate infographics and photographs of cocoa production can be found at

Media contact:
Antonie Fountain
[email protected]
Mob:(+31)06 242 765 17

VOICE response to latest NORC research on child labour in the cocoa sectoresponse to latest NORC research on child labour in the cocoa sector

Despite two decades of efforts, the cocoa sector has still not been able to significantly reduce – let alone eliminate – child labour on West African cocoa farms. According to a new report by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC), 1.5 million children are working in cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. 95% of the child labourers are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, such as working with dangerous tools or harmful pesticides.

The main reason why the problem of child labour has not been solved is simple; it didn’t have to be eliminated. The efforts of the past two decades were entirely voluntary. Companies could engage with the problem in any manner they saw fit, and there have been exactly zero consequences for failing to meet the parade of promises made by the cocoa industry in the past decade.

The report shows that some forms of child labour are even getting worse. The strong increase of children using pesticides is an especially grave cause for concern. More than forty percent of children interviewed reported feeling very tired or even exhausted because of child labour. A third of children were in very bad pain, a quarter felt very sick, and one in ten children had to receive treatment at a medical centre. All in all, these figures are shocking, and urgent efforts must be undertaken to safeguard children from these hazards to their health.

A companion study on the efficacy of industry interventions to reduce child labour – commissioned by the cocoa and chocolate industry – was simultaneously released. It shows that when industry does choose to invest time and effort in child labour reduction approaches, progress can be made. Though it raises the question why these investments were not made much earlier and on a larger scale, the VOICE Network welcomes the intention of several multinational cocoa and chocolate companies to roll out these programmes to all the cocoa farmers they source from. We call on all other companies to follow suit immediately.

However, such programs reduce child labour only by roughly 30%. The main cause of child labour is poverty, and child labour will persist as long as the cocoa and chocolate industry is not serious about ensuring a living income to all cocoa farming families around the world.

Other drivers of child labour, including a lack of healthcare and education, require efforts by local governments who are responsible for the infrastructure needed for childcare and education. The VOICE Network calls on all cocoa-producing governments, but especially the Ghanaian and Ivorian governments, to dramatically improve and expand efforts to provide education and other vital services to children, and crack down on child labor and other abuses in cocoa. There is also an increasing need for clarity and ownership of the concept of child labour and child work, which should be informed by national inclusive and deliberative processes. This should be anchored in existing national legislation, which is based on the ILO Core Conventions and takes into account the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

What is needed now are mandatory due diligence regulations that cover both human rights and environmental harms, as well as an urgent plan to safeguard children from exposure to pesticides, a full roll out of child labour monitoring and remediation systems to all cocoa sourcing from West Africa, coordinated national agricultural and rural development policies and investments in infrastructure. Lastly, these must be coupled with a strong income increase to ensure cocoa farming households reach a living income, part of which must include payments of higher cocoa prices at ‘farm-gate’.