The cocoa supply chain is shaped like an hourglass. There are millions of cocoa farmers on one end, billions of consumers on the other and a few chocolate giants in the middle. 70% of the market is dominated by three couverture (liquid chocolate) manufacturers and eight cocoa traders and processors. These few multinational chocolate companies wield the power in the supply chain. And, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility!
Big choco to take action
We now have official figures: the Global Slavery Index
Last year, the Chocolonely Foundation partnered up with the Walk Free Foundation and Tulane University to conduct a survey of forced labour (including modern slavery) in the cocoa industry. We are very proud of this first independent study, which exposes the extent of the problem.
The results show that 30,000 adults and children are victims of modern slavery. And these figures are supported by the Global Slavery Index 2018. The survey was confined to official cocoa-growing areas that produce average to large volumes of cocoa. Recently deforested areas where cocoa is grown illegally were not included. Yet, from stories we have heard, we understand that things are far worse in these areas. So, the actual number of victims is likely to far exceed the official number of 30,000. At this point, the problem can no longer be denied. Only by working together can we make all chocolate 100% slave free!
Chocolate giants have set sustainability goals, but we have yet to see results
Last year, some of the biggest names in the chocolate industry, such as Barry Callebaut and Mars, announced ambitious plans to eliminate child labour from their supply chain over the next few years. We are delighted to see Mars embracing a number of our Sourcing Principles, including paying higher premiums and ensuring that all of its cocoa is traceable by 2025. But we still have a ways to go..
It’s good to have ambitions, but they need to be put into practice. There is still no industry-wide commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations, which include putting an end to child labour. Besides, it’s not possible to eliminate child labour and modern slavery without also tackling the poverty experienced by the farmers. And factors such as poverty, the chance to earn a living income and the price of cocoa are precisely the ones that are too often overlooked.
Climate change and ‘our’ 18,488 tons of carbon emissions
Cocoa farmers are suffering greatly from climate change: rain is unpredictable and dry spells tend to last longer. We make chocolate bars and Easter eggs from cocoa beans that grow in Ghana and Ivory Coast; the carbon emissions in our chain contribute to the local climate change. Our bean to bar carbon emissions stood at 18,488 tons in the reporting period, i.e. 3.19 kilos of carbon per kilo of chocolate.
What did we do about it?
- We’ve locked 14,444 tons (i.e. 78% of our total emissions) of carbon emissions offset with Justdiggit. Justdiggit regreens dry land in Africa by involving local communities. This year, our contribution of 130,000 was used to add 121 hectares of land; in total, we’ve now greened 189.7 hectares with Justdiggit in Kuku, Kenya. This greened land has locked in 14,444 tons in carbon emissions, so it will not rise as greenhouse gas.
- With GoodShipping we’ve prevented 43 tons of carbon. Ocean-shipping is one of the most polluting industries in the world. In the reporting period, we shipped all our bars to the US using biofuel. We paid 10,000 to save 26.43 tons in carbon emissions. It’s just a smidgen to be sure, but hey, we have to start somewhere. We’ve partnered up in this initiative with the GoodShipping Program, which aims to change the standard in ocean-shipping from fossil fuel to biofuel. Anchors away!