Nearly five years ago, I created my first post at SRIBend.com! It was inspired by a couple of my kids who were concerned about the issue of child labor connected to the chocolate industry. At that time Big Chocolate companies were half-way to their commitment made in 2010 of tracking their cocoa sources towards fair trade and sustainability. Now, disappointingly, in 2020 the year in which their promises were to be fulfilled, many of the largest chocolate producers are falling well short.
Green America has created this Chocolate Scorecard ’19 to rank these company’s sustainability practices. Also included below is a brief history and summary of the issues from their website (Green America). Socially Responsible Investing has led to numerous positive changes in how many public companies that we invest in conduct business. Building awareness of these issues and being conscious of how our dollars are directed, whether it’s the stocks or the chocolate bars that we buy, can make a significant impact.
|Fair Trade Certified||Fair Trade USA’s Fair Trade Certified standards prohibit forced labor, child labor, and discrimination, and protects freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. If child labor should surface, remediation guidelines are in place. Certified farmers are guaranteed a fair trade floor price for their cocoa beans as well as a social premium. Fair Trade Certified certifies farmer cooperatives as well as larger plantations. Only cocoa needs to be certified for the chocolate bar to receive the seal.|
From the Green America website:
According to the US Department of Labor, more than 2 million children in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. While some companies have begun tracing their supply chains to prevent child labor, the vast majority of the 3 million tons of cocoa produced each year come from small farms in West Africa, where farmers and their children live on less than $1 per day.
This scorecard will help you find ethically sourced sweets and understand what the certification labels on cocoa actually mean. This is, of course, not a comprehensive list of ethically sourced chocolate companies; however, the scorecard features companies who are also Green Business Network members, as Green America has screened them for their environmental, social justice, and human rights practices. Chocolate bars with an “A” rating are addressing farmer income and child labor issues, and are organic and/or non-GMO certified.
With this updated scorecard, we are not only looking at how much certified cocoa a major chocolate company has, we are also looking to see if the company has innovative programs and projects in place to address some of the other underlying issues of child labor in cocoa and if the company is working to address deforestation.
Jack Schniepp is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®, ChFC®) and the owner of Cascade Financial Strategies. CFS is a registered investment advisor licensed in Oregon, California and Idaho. They specialize in socially responsible investing which integrates environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria into portfolio construction.