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Article

25 Jan 2023

Author:
Elizabeth G Dunn, The Guardian (UK)

A fair and sustainable cocoa sector requires companies to transform its supply management

" The sweet spot: is ethical and affordable chocolate possible?", 21 January 2023

... Modern reports of rampant human rights and environmental abuses within the chocolate industry emerged more than 20 years ago. Millions of farming families in the west African countries of Ivory Coast and Ghana – where the majority of the world’s commodity cocoa crop is grown – subsisted on less than $1 a day. Children were performing forced labor, wielding machetes and spraying toxic agrichemicals instead of attending school. And vast swaths of tropical forest were being clearcut to make room for more cocoa...

Browsing the pages Nestlé devotes to its Cocoa Plan, Mars to Cocoa for Generations, Mondelēz to Cocoa Life, or Hershey’s to Cocoa For Good, it seems as if progress is well under way. In reality, though, industry watchdogs agree that little headway has been made on the path to a fair and sustainable cocoa sector...

Beyond Good produces single-origin chocolate bars from cocoa sourced in Madagascar... Beyond Good says it ... buys its cocoa beans direct from local farmer co-ops and drives them to its manufacturing facility in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital... Tony’s Chocoloney identifies itself as a mission-driven chocolate company that aims to make cocoa production “100% slave-free”...

The price of cocoa today on the New York Mercantile Exchange is $2,400 a metric ton; it fluctuates a great deal, but the average price of cocoa has been $2,400 a ton for five decades. While chocolate bars have gotten more expensive, cocoa farmers have continued to be paid the same...

For Antonie Fountain, of the Voice Network, the solution for lifting cocoa farmers out of poverty lies in better governance from both chocolate-consuming and cocoa-producing nations – things like improving supply management and putting in place regulations for the multinational corporations buying cocoa. Those companies should also pay higher prices to farms, and offer long-term contracts to provide farmers with financial security...