Its Easter which means time for another Egg Award ceremony from be slavery free. A few weeks ago we were chatting with the people behind the awards, Fuzz and Carolyn Kitto, who couldn’t have been nicer people.
They explained to us how the award started and what a struggle it was to find any company doing the right thing.
As much bad publicity as there are around the injustices in the industry, this year’s awards Show just how far some of those companies have come. but not all of course, which is why the rotten egg awards still exists.
First let’s celebrate the good news. many companies have done exceptionally well, And the top place goes to the aptly named Beyond Good, who have shown they can live up to their name with Green Eggs across the board.
Companies complete assessments which are divided into six categories illustrated below. Each eggs colour represents the grade they have achieved for each area. The scores are necessarily relative to the rest of the industry.
Mondelez which has recently been in the news over child labour scandal scored a yellow egg in the child labour category which means they were identified a starting to implement good policies. next year should, then should see them scoring better.
The Rotten Egg Award goes once again to Storck “for lack of transparency and being unreasonable. They also received the Rotten Egg Award last year.”
While there had been improvements in many areas since last year’s survey, the researchers said there was still a long way to go in addressing the issue of approximately 1.56 million children caught up in child labour. This is inspite of repeated calls to address the issue and following a major academic study in 2020 revealing the scope of the problem.
Just this week footage emerged of children working with machetes on a cocoa farm that supplies Mondelez, owner of Cadbury.
“We are not at all surprised that a journalist found child labourers on farms allegedly supplying to Mondelez. Our concern is that we are not finding more of these children,” says Fuzz Kitto of Be Slavery Free, the Australia-based charity which coordinated the Chocolate Scorecard.
Much of the child labour found in West Africa is the hazardous form of child labour, where a child is in danger through such things as carrying heavy loads, using dangerous equipment, such as machetes, or being exposed to chemicals.
“Every year the chocolate industry’s big players assure us that they’ll do something about child labour and the huge numbers of children being exposed to chemicals that burn their skin and affect their breathing. We say that progress is too slow and they have to stop poisoning children to produce chocolate.”
“If companies started paying farmers properly, so they can get a living income, there would be fewer children forced to work in cocoa production and fewer farmers cutting corners with dangerous pesticides.”
The Chocolate Scorecard focuses on the production and supply chains that start in West Africa, where around 75% of the world’s cocoa is produced.
We’re often asked what chocolate is the most ethical to eat, so we always set out to name and fame rather than just name and shame. That way consumers get to see what better looks likeFuzz Kitto.
Good Eggs and Rotten Eggs
This year Ferrero joins the list of companies, including Hershey’s, Fazer and Ritter, whose cocoa is close to 100% certified by the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.
“While certification is not perfect,” says Fuzz Kitto, “it is often a positive first step in a company’s sustainability journey.”
Storck, Starbucks and General Mills were awarded the researchers’ “broken egg” for their continuing refusal to cooperate with The Chocolate Scorecard. Storck was given the worst rating overall and awarded this year’s rotten egg for a lack of transparency about its policies and practices in their cocoa supply chain, and in light of civil society complaints about the company.
“If they are making progress on increasing the sustainability of their chocolate supply chains then we and their customers and investors would like to hear about it.” says Kitto.
A positive the researchers found this year is the massive increase in commitment to cocoa production as part of an agroforestry system, whereby cocoa and other trees are grown together. This system has many benefits, maintaining cocoa yields while helping farmers diversify – and restoring and improving local biodiversity at the same time.
Nestlé is notable for not only their 2021 distribution of over 1 million shade trees and a pledge for another million shade trees in 2022 in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana but also a reforestation program to plant 20 million trees every year for the next 10 years in the area where it sources ingredients.
The annual survey and its dissemination is a collaboration between 29 organisations from around the world, including Australia’s Macquarie University and University of Wollongong, and the Open University (UK) as research partners, and not-for-profit groups.
Says Andrew Wallis OBE, CEO of Unseen: “When faced with the issues surrounding child labour, individuals often feel overwhelmed by the problem and ask, ‘What can I realistically do?’ The Chocolate Scorecard is a brilliant way to help consumers choose wisely and eat chocolate this Easter with a clearer conscience.”