VIDEO: The Chocolate Scorecard

April 6, 2023

The Week in Sustainability – April 3–7, 2023

Close-up of a chocolate bar

The Chocolate Scorecard
, a report produced by Be Slavery Free, a non-governmental organization, recently released the fourth edition of its scorecard, which tracks cocoa production in the world’s leading cocoa-producing countries. It grades 43 brands, suppliers, and retailers on various sustainability issues. 

Because cocoa can only grow in specific tropical conditions, it puts economic pressure on countries to escalate deforestation for cocoa production, leading to concerns about pesticide use, biodiversity loss, and soil degradation. The Chocolate Scorecard also addresses sustainability issues in the chocolate industry, including the environment and human rights. 

Countries that produce cocoa tend to have weaker labor laws, leading to child labor issues. Over 1.5 million children are estimated to be involved in the cocoa industry in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the countries responsible for over half of the world’s cocoa. The opaque supply chains feeding the chocolate industry make traceability and accountability difficult, and this opacity provides convenient cover for the $60 billion chocolate industry to continue to procure cocoa cheaply.

The scorecard’s ranking focuses on traceability, living income, child labor, deforestation, climate, agroforestry, and agrichemical management. Companies that monitor their compliance with anti-deforestation policies receive higher scores. The scorecard also considers if companies have set science-based targets and are progressing towards them. 

Brands like Original Beans and Tony’s rank at the top, while Kellogg’s, Starbucks, and Godiva sit at the bottom. Cadbury chose not to respond to the scorecard survey. So the next time you grab a bar, check the Chocolate Scorecard. 

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1. The Chocolate Scorecard, “Exploring the Chocolate Scorecard,” Accessed April 6, 2023

2. Well+Good, “Chocolate Is One of the Most Damaging Foods to the Environment—Here’s Why,” Accessed April 6, 2023

3. Consumer Reports, “Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate,” Accessed April 6, 2023

Editorial statement
At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Hannah Asofsky
Hannah Asofsky is a sustainability data analyst at Sustain.Life.
Nick Liu-Sontag
Nick Liu-Sontag is a senior manager of sustainability at Sustain.Life. He has over a decade of experience in the sustainability and energy sectors.
The takeaway

The opaque supply chains feeding the chocolate industry make traceability and accountability difficult. That’s a convenient cover for the $60 billion chocolate industry to continue to procure cocoa cheaply.

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