Chocolate Company Commitments to Ending Abuses in Cocoa Production in West Africa

Publication Date: 

September 27, 2012

Chocolate companies are making a number of efforts to address the issues of forced labour, trafficked labour and exploited child labour in the production of cocoa in West Africa. Over 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown in West Africa.

This sheet aims to provide a brief outline of what progress the chocolate companies have made in the following areas:

  • Amount of cocoa purchased that has independent third party certification that the above abuses have not taken place in the production of the cocoa;
  • The percentage of cocoa used by the company that has been independently certified as free of the above abuses;
  • Future commitments the company has made to purchase cocoa that has been independently certified as free as the above abuses;
  • Funds provided for anti-poverty projects in West Africa;
  • Any additional payments the company has made as a community development premium on certified cocoa it has purchased (which applies to cocoa purchased under Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and Source Trust certification schemes).

These measures do not provide a complete picture of all the efforts being made by chocolate companies to address the problem, so should only be considered a very rough indicators of some of the efforts being made.

While some chocolate companies, such as Mars, argue that ending forced labour and exploited child labour in cocoa production is something companies should not be competing on, there has been a lack of information in the public arena on the above measures of the efforts chocolate companies are making. If this is truly something where companies agree they are not competing against each other, then their efforts should be transparent and public, so there is a clear picture of the efforts being made. Most of the companies approached in the development of this sheet provided additional information to what they had disclosed publicly in the past.