When biting into a bar of chocolate, many chocolate lovers have no idea where the raw ingredient, cocoa, comes from, nor the impact that its production has on nature and our changing climate.
The 2023 Chocolate Scorecard breaks this down for us by asking major chocolate brands, manufacturers, and traders what they know about their cocoa supply chains and the environmental impact.
A mixed bag of findings
This year’s top scorers for addressing deforestation and climate change in supply chains include Original Beans, Tony’s Chocolonely, Beyond Good, Halba, and Aldi. Whilst Kellogg, Daito Cacao, Glico, Starbucks, and Morinaga, are lagging in their application of no-deforestation policies and monitoring systems. Still, their willingness to engage in the scorecard does at least signify a desire to review and address the pitfalls of their environmental policies. This sets them apart from big brands such as Mondelez, Unilever and General Mills; and retailers like Tesco, Walmart, and Whole Foods, who refused to participate in this year’s survey, earning “broken egg” status. So, what are they hiding and why does it matter?
The true cost of Cocoa
Around 75% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the leading producers. In the last 60 years, these two countries have lost around 94% and 80% of their forests, respectively, with at-least one-third of forest loss to make way for expanding cocoa production.
Despite collaborative efforts to address the industry’s impact on nature, including the launch of the multistakeholder Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) in 2017, cocoa-driven deforestation has continued to clear West Africa’s forests. The recent announcement of a renewed ‘CFI 2.0’ and the enforcement of the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) in 2024, gives some hope for protecting and restoring what precious little is left. But any viable solution requires greater cooperation from chocolate companies to monitor and respond to deforestation in their supply chains.
On deforestation and climate: what are companies doing well?
Where are they falling short?
Sefwi Asempaneya: Ghana – an agroforestry landscape, where cocoa is integrated, and the value of standing trees is recognized
Many of the world’s largest cocoa companies are still at risk of sourcing deforestation cocoa. With the impending enforcement of the European Union Deforestation Regulation, chocolate companies need to take urgent, affirmative action to address deforestation in their supply chains, or risk being sanctioned for non-compliance. It is no longer acceptable to have less than 100% deforestation-free cocoa and, for that matter, 100% deforestation mapping.
Deforestation-free cocoa monitoring systems still need to be better implemented in cocoa-producing countries. But in the face of declining cocoa prices and government revenues; farmer poverty; increasing production costs; and countless other challenges, the burden cannot fall solely on cocoa producing farmers and governments who reap a small fraction of the industry’s rewards.
There is great potential here for companies to enhance their policies, monitoring, and actions. Companies that participated in the 2023 Scorecard are urged to continue to publicly share their sustainability objectives, initiatives, and achievements, as well as (crucially) their supply chain data. Doing so allows us all, as consumers, to keep them accountable and encourage other cocoa companies to improve their approaches to deforestation and climate change.
Chocolate Scorecard 2023