The chocolate industry has for years gotten much of its cocoa from the destruction of national parks and protected areas. Mighty Earth is working to transform the industry, and provide habitat for endangered species like forest elephants and chimpanzees.  In the cocoa heartland of West Africa, we are working to conserve and restore forests. Globally, we work to ensure that any future expansion is responsible so that people can finally enjoy chocolate without worrying about its ecological consequences.

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Unpacking Deforestation and Climate Change within Chocolate Scorecard 


When biting into a crunchy chocolate candy, many consumers don’t realise where the cocoa ingredients in their favourite treats come from, nor the costs that their production can have for nature and the climate.  

West Africa produces 75% of the world’s cocoa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana producing the lion’s share. In the last 60 years, these two African countries have lost around 94% and 80% of their forests respectively, with approximately one-third of that forest loss to make way for growing cocoa. Research published by Mighty Earth revealed that, in the period between January 2019 and January 2022 alone, Côte d’Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (194.21 km2) of forest within cocoa-growing regions, while Ghana lost 39,497 hectares (394.97 km2)  in cocoa regions. This amounts to a combined area equivalent to the size of the cities of Madrid, Seoul, or Chicago.  

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Agroforestry: How do Chocolate Companies Compare?  


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”. 

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


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.

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国際NGOが「チョコレート成績表2022」を発表〜日本企業から6社が参加、カカオのトレーサビリティ確保に課題〜


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。

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2022 Easter Chocolate Scorecard Lists Starbucks Among “Broken Eggs”


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. Starbucks, General Mills, and Storck were awarded the researchers’ “Broken Egg” for their refusal to provide information for The Chocolate Scorecard.

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Une nouvelle étude approfondie révèle que les principaux fabricants de chocolat n’ont pas tenu leur promesse de mettre fin à la déforestation


Plus de quatre ans après le lancement très médiatisé de l’Initiative Cacao et Forêts (ICF), les principaux pays africains producteurs de cacao sont toujours confrontés à la destruction de vastes zones forestières au profit des plantations de cacao, indique une nouvelle analyse de données réalisée par Mighty Earth. Petites douceurs : Le secteur du chocolat n’a pas tenu sa promesse de mettre fin à la déforestation dans ses chaînes d’approvisionnement en cacao, révèle que, même après la publication des plans de mise en œuvre par le secteur, la Côte d’Ivoire a perdu 19 421 hectares de forêt au sein des régions productrices de cacao, et le Ghana 39 497 hectares. En additionnant ces chiffres, on obtient une superficie équivalente à celle des villes de Madrid, Séoul ou Chicago. 

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Major Chocolate Companies Failed In Pledge to End Deforestation, Comprehensive New Study Shows


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 forest being destroyed to make room for cocoa production, according to a new data analysis by Mighty Earth.

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新調査報告発表:大手チョコレート企業、森林破壊停止の誓約を実行せず


 2022年2月10日 – マイティー・アースが新たに実施したデータ分析調査により、「カカオと森林イニシアティブ(CFI)」(注1)開始から4年以上が経過した今も、アフリカの主要なカカオ生産国では、カカオ栽培のために広範囲にわたる森林破壊が続いていることが明らかになった。新調査報告「口先だけの甘い言葉:チョコレート業界は、カカオのサプライチェーンにおける森林破壊を終わらせるための約束を果たしていない」によると、業界が2019年に行動計画を発表した後の3年間で、カカオ生産地域における森林消失面積はコートジボワールで19,421ヘクタール、ガーナで39,497ヘクタールに及んでいる。この合計面積は、東京23区の面積に匹敵する。

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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.

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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…

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


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.

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Cocoa Agroforestry Conference


Join us May 18-20, 2021 for our 3-day cocoa agroforestry Conference.

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ISCO Scorecard Examines Public/Private Platforms for Sustainable Cocoa


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.

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Retailer Scorecard 2021


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. 

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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年のイースター成績表:「腐った卵賞」はストークが受賞、アルテル・エコ、トニーズ・チョコロンリー、そしてウィッタカーズが「黄金の卵賞」を受賞、ゴディバは2020年の最下位からランクを上げる

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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国内大手チョコレート企業環境・労働問題への取り組み評価

国内大手チョコレート企業環境・労働問題への取り組み評価


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。

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


Côte d'Ivoire recently published the implementation report for the first two years of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI).

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Supreme Court Must Hold Cargill and Nestle Accountable for Child Slavery


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.

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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.

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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.

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European Parliament Urges the EU to Stop Deforestation


The European Parliament has adopted a legislative initiative report urging the European Commission to propose a strong law to ensure products sold in the Union are deforestation-free and don’t cause human rights abuses.

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Petition: End Child Exploitation in Cocoa


Take action today to demand that the world’s top chocolate companies step up to fully tackle child exploitation in West African cocoa once and for all.

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NGOs: Are Industry and Governments Watering Down New Cocoa Report Data to Downplay Persistent Child Labor and Farmer Poverty?


For close to 20 years the issue of child labor and slavery has been on the radar of the industry who source from West Africa which produces around 66% of the world’s cocoa.

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#JusticeForTamshiyacu

Justice for Tamshiyacu


Holding a cocoa company accountable for 2,000 hectares of primary forest deforestation, illegal trafficking of forest and wood products, and obstruction of justice.

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Webinar: How to Achieve Zero Deforestation Cocoa


Video: Mighty Earth's Etelle Higonnet was the opening speaker at Earthworm Foundation's recent webinar, "How the cocoa industry can stop deforestation."

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Key elements for an agreement between the EU and cocoa-producing countries, to ensure sustainability in the cocoa sector


The paper outlines a vision for a new partnership agreement between the European Union and the governments of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to tackle deforestation, poverty and social issues in the cocoa sector.

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Cocoa Accountability Map 2.0 Webinar


Mighty Earth recently hosted a webinar for the launch of our Cocoa Accountability Map 2.0 as part of our effort to trigger a transparency and traceability revolution in the cocoa sector.

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High Carbon Stock Approach and Cocoa


The High Carbon Stock Approach represents a widely recognized, practical methodology to implement ‘no deforestation’ commitments.

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Historic Coalition Speaks Out for Sustainable Cocoa in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire


Joint Declaration by 350 different NGOs calls for government action to support farmers and protect forests

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Ending Deforestation is Not Enough, Agroforestry is a Must for Cocoa Sustainability


The Voice Network’s newly published paper, "Agroforestry in the Cocoa Sector: A Need for Ambitious Collaborative Landscape Approaches," introduces key insights for that transformation.

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Video: Ivory Coast Battles to Save Cocoa-Ravaged Forests


Decades of intensive cocoa farming led to rapid economic development in the Ivory Coast, and turned the country into the world's top producer of the chocolate ingredient. But clearing land for farming all but wiped out the Ivory Coast's forests. An ambitious new forestry policy could reverse that.

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Mighty Earth COVID-19 response for Cocoa Farmers


Mighty Earth and the other NGO members of the VOICE Network are deeply concerned about the effects of COVID-19 on cocoa farming households, a group already in a vulnerable position.

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World’s Largest Chocolate Companies Rated on Efforts to End Environmental and Labor Abuses


International Advocacy Groups Publish Joint Consumer Purchasing Guide Just in Time for the Easter Holiday

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Mighty Earth “Cocoa Accountability Map” Brings Unprecedented Transparency to Cocoa Industry in Côte d’Ivoire


Interactive map includes never-before-released information, including locations of Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade certified co-ops and sourcing information for major chocolate companies

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Interactive Map Sets New Standard for Cocoa Transparency and Accountability


The Cocoa Accountability Map seeks to spark a revolution in traceability and transparency in the Ivorian cocoa industry, in the hopes that this trend of openness will spread throughout the country – the world’s top cocoa producer – and then to Ghana and beyond.

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Mighty Earth’s Etelle Higonnet Named to France’s National Order of Merit


French President Emmanuel Macron has named Mighty Earth's Etelle Higonnet a Chevalier of France’s Ordre national du Mérite

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Despite laudable goals, CFI must improve


Since November 2017, the chocolate industry has embraced the goal of ending deforestation in cocoa. Coordinated largely through the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), there has been an unmistakable trend towards ending deforestation, joint industry action, traceability, transparency, agroforestry, as well as other sustainable agricultural practices.

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Deforestation Continues Because Companies Aren’t Trying


Nobody doing business with Cargill and JBS can credibly say they are concerned about deforestation

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Companies Support Higher Cocoa Prices for Farmers


Mighty Earth collected statements from industry with varying level of support for the much-needed price increase for cocoa to protect farmers. While we do not in any way endorse these statements, they serve to debunk the notion that industry will not support a price increase.

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Standing up for forests and farmers


Mighty Earth applauds the government of Cote d’Ivoire for seeking to better protect its forests today, and for its willingness to move towards a greener future, putting behind the bitter past of losing 85% of its forests since 1990.

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Cargill Named “Worst Company in the World”


New report documents US-based agribusiness giant's "ineptitude and incoherence at a grand scale."

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Meet “Chocopec” – Can a new minimum price give cocoa farmers a living income?


For too long, cocoa cultivation has been synonymous with extreme poverty.

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Time for the European Union to act to address deforestation and child labour in the cocoa sector


Following the release of highly concerning data from the Global Forest Watch, we—the undersigned organisations working in the fields of environment, human rights, and agriculture—urge you to take action to address deforestation and child labour in the cocoa sector.

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New Dutch Law Combats Child Labor, Highlights Need for EU-Wide Standards on Cocoa


We are pleased to share excellent news from the Netherlands, where the Dutch Senate has approved a law that will combat the scourge of child labor by holding companies accountable for labor practices throughout their supply chains.

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Earth Day – Reflecting on environmental reforms in the cocoa industry in the past year


Earth Day is a time for us to reflect on the past year and look to the future. Today, Senior Advisor Etelle Higonnet shares news and updates from Mighty Earth’s campaign to make the chocolate industry sustainable.

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Mighty Earth Publishes 2019 Easter Buyer’s Guide for Environmental Chocolate


In advance of the Easter holiday, advocacy organization Mighty Earth released today, an environmental buyers’ guide for sustainable chocolate. The guide assesses 57 chocolate companies’ environmental policies and practices to provide consumers with an easy reference when buying chocolate for friends and family.

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Victory: Largest Cocoa Company in Ghana Joins Push for Sustainability


As a result of advocacy by Mighty Earth and the hard work of others including the World Cocoa Foundation, the biggest cocoa company in Ghana, PBC Limited, has joined the Cocoa Forest Initiative to end deforestation and restore forest areas.

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World’s major chocolate companies make landmark call for EU to regulate cocoa sector


As a member of The VOICE Network, Mighty Earth is thrilled to join VOICE, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, and the world’s largest chocolate companies in calling on the European Union to strengthen their requirements for environmental protections and human rights safeguards in the cocoa trade.

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Germany Calls for EU Regulations to Address Deforestation and Child Labour in Cocoa Industry


In groundbreaking news for the chocolate industry, Germany has called for European-wide “binding regulations” to address deforestation and child labour in the cocoa industry.

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New Report: Corporate Promises Failing to Stop Cocoa-Driven Deforestation


Despite the chocolate industry’s pledge to cease sourcing cocoa linked to deforestation one year ago, a new Mighty Earth report finds that deforestation in West Africa for cocoa has continued, and in some cases has increased.

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Belgium joins France in calling for an EU due diligence cocoa law


For the first time, Belgium has called on the European Commission to regulate the cocoa supply chain, including through a “due diligence cocoa law”. France made the same call, last month.

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Cocoa Countdown to Christmas


Join us this month to fight for chocolate that's good for people and the planet, with a different action each day on our Advent Calendar.

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Colombia Becomes First Country in Latin America to Commit to Deforestation-Free Chocolate


Mighty Earth applauds Colombia’s decision, announced today, to join the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, a global effort to ensure deforestation-free cocoa.

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EU legislation must end child labour and deforestation in the cocoa supply chain


A group of civil society organisations are calling on the EU to pass legislation to end severe human rights violations and environmental destruction in cocoa supply chains.

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How to Buy Chocolate for Easter Without Killing Sloths


It’s Easter. The holiday season is chock-full of scenes of celebration: bunnies, decorations, and eggs. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate. The week surrounding Easter has the highest consumption of chocolate in the year.  

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Your Cocoa, Kissed By Deforestation


New research shows that cocoa is driving ongoing deforestation in other regions of the world, from Asia to the Amazon. Mighty Earth undertook mapping of cocoa-producing regions in four countries outside of West Africa and found a high risk of deforestation in various cocoa-producing areas.

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Les « Bonnes choses de 2017 » : le travail de Mighty Earth sur le chocolat figure sur la liste du Guardian.


Amid a sometimes tumultuous year for the environment, there were also major climate achievements. Mighty Earth’s work in the chocolate industry was listed as one of the Guardian’s “Things that went right in 2017”.

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Mighty Earth work on chocolate listed as one of the Guardian’s “Things that went right in 2017”


Amid a sometimes tumultuous year for the environment, there were also major climate achievements. Mighty Earth’s work in the chocolate industry was listed as one of the Guardian’s “Things that went right in 2017”.

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Today’s Big Chocolate Industry Announcement – What It Means


After a bitter past, the chocolate industry is off to a sweet new start when it comes to protecting forests, as it agreed today to end deforestation for cocoa in West Africa.

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Guest Post: Young Conservationist’s Response to Mighty’s Chocolate Investigation


I’m Hannah and I’m 10 years old. I live in Manchester, England. And here is how Mighty Earth inspired me to try and spread the word.

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Six Maps that Explain the Ivory Coast Cocoa Crisis

Six Maps that Explain the Ivory Coast Cocoa Crisis


In 2017, Mighty Earth partnered with MapHubs to map deforestation linked to Cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire. Leo Bottrill and Kris Carle, MapHubs’ Founders, explain through six maps how this was possible.

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La destruction de parcs nationaux par l’industrie du chocolat révélée par une enquête


Une nouvelle enquête menée par Mighty Earth et intitulée L’amère déforestation du chocolat, révèle qu’une quantité importante du cacao avec lequel Mars, Nestlé, Hershey, Godiva et d’autres grandes marques fabriquent leur chocolat est cultivée illégalement dans des parcs nationaux et des aires protégées en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana.

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Investigation Links Chocolate to Destruction of National Parks


A new investigation by Mighty Earth, “Chocolate’s Dark Secret,” finds that a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by Mars, Nestle, Hershey’s, Godiva, and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally in national parks and other protected areas in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

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La crise du chocolat


Today, the world’s largest chocolate makers met with the Prince of Wales to discuss solutions to the chocolate industry’s biggest problem: the destruction of rainforests to make way for large-scale chocolate production.

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The Chocolate Crisis


Today, the world’s largest chocolate makers met with the Prince of Wales to discuss solutions to the chocolate industry’s biggest problem: the destruction of rainforests to make way for large-scale chocolate production.

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Reports

Unpacking Deforestation and Climate Change within Chocolate Scorecard 


Dr Stephanie Perkiss 

Stephanie Perkiss is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at the University of Wollongong and explores social and environmental accounting and accountability in her research. 

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 https://beslaveryfree.com/chocolate 

When biting into a crunchy chocolate candy, many consumers don’t realise where the cocoa ingredients in their favourite treats come from, nor the costs that their production can have for nature and the climate.  

West Africa produces 75% of the world’s cocoa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana producing the lion’s share. In the last 60 years, these two African countries have lost around 94% and 80% of their forests respectively, with approximately one-third of that forest loss to make way for growing cocoa. Research published by Mighty Earth revealed that, in the period between January 2019 and January 2022 alone, Côte d’Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (194.21 km2) of forest within cocoa-growing regions, while Ghana lost 39,497 hectares (394.97 km2)  in cocoa regions. This amounts to a combined area equivalent to the size of the cities of Madrid, Seoul, or Chicago.  

Many of the remaining tropical forests under threat in these two countries are within legally protected areas, providing critical habitat to endangered species like chimpanzees and pygmy hippos. They also contain vast stores of carbon, which if released could exacerbate global climate change. Forests absorb carbon, and when they die, they release carbon and no longer serve as a sink.  

Amongst other indicators, the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard focuses on the extent to which individual companies are taking concrete steps to ensure that forests are not being cut down to provide them with cocoa. We analysed the responses to deforestation and climate change in the following areas based on best-in-class guidance (see AFI box)  

  1. Application of no-deforestation policy to global sourcing, and percentage of cocoa purchased through a deforestation-free monitoring system;
  2. Percentage of cocoa sourced from deforested areas since 2010 when satellite monitoring systems became widely available;
  3. Percentage of cocoa sourced from actors who have been deforesting since the launch of the CFI in 2017;
  4. Detailed plans for how to respond to evidence of suppliers sourcing cocoa from recently deforested land; and 
  5. 5. Policy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions company-wide; or using science-based targets.

Chocolate Scorecard survey results 

The highest score of the deforestation and climate change theme went to Alter Eco and Beyond Good. There were several others in the ‘green’ or top scoring category: Chocolats Halba, ECOM, Ferrero, Nestlé, and Olam. All these companies have undertaken efforts that put them at the top of the pack, relative to their peers. The lowest scores for deforestation and climate change went to Daito Cacao, Glico and Morinaga. These companies did, however, respond to the survey and have endeavoured to engage on deforestation and climate. This sets them apart from General Mills, Starbucks, and Storck who did not participate in the survey – and who appear (based on a review of their publicly available material) to be worryingly behind on many sustainability metrics including those for their cocoa when it comes to forests/climate – remain at the rock bottom.  

Grading for the deforestation and climate change theme was tough. For many questions we were looking for specific and verifiable data – usually figures and percentages with links so they can be publicly verified. While many of our companies were great at narrative accounts, some key figures were missing.  

We will start with what was done not so well: 

  • Satellite monitoring – We would like to see more companies purchasing cocoa from locations that are verified deforestation-free, using a satellite monitoring system. Even better, if companies started using the available technology that forecasts (quite accurately) where deforestation will happen, this could stop deforestation in their cocoa supply chains before it takes place. While many companies are starting to do monitoring, imagine how good it would be if all companies reached 100%, and then actually used the monitoring to curb forest destruction in their supply chains!  
  • Deforestation mapping - We gave special attention to deforestation and purchasing from the two largest cocoa producing countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Many companies could not provide details on cocoa they had sourced from areas deforested since 2010 (at which point, accurate and free satellite mapping of forests was easily accessible to all); or again after November 2017 (at which point Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) was signed, wherein all major companies and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana pledged to end deforestation and start mapping). We appreciate that this data can feel confusing at first, especially if companies have only recently begun mapping. But, without mapping and understanding one’s deforestation, pledges will remain empty words.  
  • Verifiability - In the survey, we awarded points where respondents provided reference to their data/figures, which can be independently checked. In several instances, citations and URLs were not provided and grades were not given, such as for a few companies who failed to provide evidence of a time-bound plan for working with suppliers and smallholders to map farms using GPS.  
  • Transparency is important - Public transparency in relation to deforestation and climate change is important, so we have urged participating companies to keep publicly sharing their sustainability initiatives and achievements. This allows civil society to follow the old adage: trust, but verify.  

Now, onto what was done well:  

  • Monitoring systems - Most of the companies we surveyed have some form of monitoring system. However, most of these remain incomplete or even deeply flawed. For example, satellite mapping is rarely connected to an alert system that trigger field investigations in the places identified as having deforestation. It also seems almost no company is using deforestation forecasting, although this now exists for Côte d’Ivoire and for many geographies with a variety of tools. There were some standouts: Beyond Good used both satellite imagery as well as on-the-ground monitoring and went further than its peers. Beyond Good established a high-quality Deforestation Dashboard as a deforestation monitoring system.  

Source: Beyond Good’s mapping tool. 

  • Collaboration to eradicate deforestation - Many of the participating companies have joined the ‘Cocoa & Forest Initiative’ (CFI) and/or Initiatives for Sustainable Cocoa (ISCOs). ISCOs refer to public-private platforms for sustainable cocoa now existing in a number of countries including Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Japan. Most ISCOs include a focus on deforestation in cocoa, and help shape collaborative efforts to eradicate deforestation from consumer countries, as CFI does in producer countries. While it is great to see a lot of companies joining CFI and ISCOs, we are finding similar themes - that there is still a lot to making these collaborative efforts truly work. Joining is only one step. Collaborating for robust group efforts to promote change, is key. Merely joining does not obviate a need for companies to continue their individual work on deforestation and climate change, nor their need to invest in conservation and restoration.  
  • Deforestation-free policies - It was great to see that most of our participants had gone beyond CFIs to embrace a global deforestation-free cocoa policy, or even a cross-commodity deforestation-free policy (for some or all regions they source from). It shows that companies in this industry are trying to take seriously the issues of deforestation and climate change in their supply chains. 
  • Public grievance systems and noncompliance policies - Most Scorecard participants have established both public grievance mechanisms, and noncompliance policies. In most cases these are not deforestation-specific, but cover the entire supply chain, including social and environmental indicators. However, full points on this front were only given when public grievance mechanisms were easily accessible and user-friendly, and where non-compliance policies establish clear consequences for deforestation, including suspension.  
  • Net-Zero carbon emission - We see major positive change with some key cocoa/chocolate companies embracing the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard. Points were awarded for joining SBTi’s race to zero. While some of the commitments show a low-ambition target of 2050, others have better timetables focused on 2030. In future grading of deforestation and climate change, we will be looking specifically at the actions companies are taking to reach these targets and whether companies have signed up for SBTi.  

A note on CDP, which some cocoa/chocolate companies flagged. We think CDP is providing a valuable service in promoting transparency for investors and nudging companies to be more explicit with the types of data and analysis they report. However, there is uneven public access to CDP disclosures. Best practice in the cocoa space could mean that companies opt to submit forest disclosures to CDP, and also post a copy of their disclosures to their company website so it can be verified.  

A tip for next year’s Chocolate Scorecard! 

Despite progress, some companies are still at risk from sourcing cocoa associated with legal and illegal deforestation. Legislation has been proposed by the European Union to regulate deforestation in high-risk commodities such as cocoa, and similar regulation is also proposed for other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, United States of America, New York State, the State of California, and more. It is worth noting that many chocolate companies have spoken out courageously to support due diligence and deforestation-free regulations in recent years. A public statement supporting regulation in your home country or regions where you sell chocolate will help gain you a better score in future years.  

There are many different roads that lead to better policy and action on deforestation and climate change. For example, Ferrero scored a ‘Green’ because it has now joined others in purchasing 100% certified volumes, and this comes on top of its considerable company-specific efforts around deforestation and climate. However, taking a different path, Mars scored well with only about half of its cocoa being certified, but performing far better when it comes to a serious company-wide, commodity-wide approach to slashing overall emissions with a time-bound implementation plan.  

Another pathway to points was, for example, clear criteria on what it takes to suspend a non-compliant supplier caught with deforestation problems (as opposed to wishy washy criteria or no criteria). Yet another pathway consists of rapid and largescale improvement, with the key to points being speed and scale of change. So, we tried to recognize that what is “good” in the case of deforestation and climate change can be very different. We’re agonistic so long as companies are on a meaningful road, and not a bridge to nowhere. 

Overall, we see lots of potential for continued growth in policy, monitoring, and action in relation to deforestation and climate change, but this is not a bad place to be, at least for the higher-performing companies in this category!  

2022 Easter Chocolate Scorecard Lists Starbucks Among “Broken Eggs”


To download the full Scorecard click here:
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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:
Methodology

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth (www.mightyearth.org) 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)
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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.

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.

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Key elements for an agreement between the EU and cocoa-producing countries, to ensure sustainability in the cocoa sector


The paper outlines a vision for a new partnership agreement between the European Union and the governments of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to tackle deforestation, poverty and social issues in the cocoa sector. It outlines what an agreement should look like, how it should be negotiated, who should be involved, and how it could work with expected new EU laws to address imported deforestation and human rights abuses.
Read here

Agroforestry in the cocoa sector: A need for ambitious collaborative landscape approaches


August 2020

Cocoa agroforestry systems can bring a wide range of ecological benefits; biodiversity con-servation of ora and fauna, carbon sequestration, preserving and strengthening soil mois-ture and fertility, contributing to pest control, and microclimatic control such as stimulating rainfall, and many other benefits.

Read here

Easter Consumer Report 2020


April 2020

Mighty Earth teamed up with Green America and Be Slavery free to publish the 2020 Easter Scorecard. This guide breaks down commitments and policies from chocolate companies and cocoa traders.

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Cocoa and African Deforestation


December 2019

New white paper analyzes the Cocoa Forest Initiative’s shortcomings and provides suggestions for improvement.

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Joint Position Paper on the EU’s policy and regulatory approach to cocoa


December 2019

Position paper calls on the European Union to strengthen human rights and environmental due diligence requirements of companies in global cocoa supply chains.

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Cargill: The Worst Company in the World


July 2019

Report documents decades of bad acts by US-based agribusiness giant, Cargill, and highlights the need for urgent action.

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Easter Consumer Report 2019


April 2019

We updated our purchasing guide in 2019, adding a ‘Rotten Egg’ award and a ‘Most Improved Award’ as well as dozens of new companies.

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Behind the Wrapper


December 2018

Despite the chocolate industry’s pledge to cease sourcing cocoa linked to deforestation one year ago, a new Mighty Earth report finds that deforestation in West Africa for cocoa has continued, and in some cases has increased.

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Easter Consumer Report 2018


March 2018

Mighty Earth created a purchasing guide to help consumers understand which major chocolate companies are doing the best job so far to protect forests, and which are lagging behind.

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Kissed by Deforestation


February 2018

Mighty Earth undertook mapping of cocoa-producing regions in four countries outside of West Africa and found a high risk of deforestation in various cocoa-producing areas. Detailed satellite mapping found large-scale deforestation within cocoa-producing regions of Indonesia, Cameroon, Peru, and Ecuador.

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Chocolate’s Dark Secret


September 2017

The report finds that a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by Mars, Nestle, Hershey’s, Godiva, and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally in national parks and other protected areas in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

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