Godiva’s golden boxes of chocolates and decadent chocolate-covered strawberries contain some unsavory ingredients: poverty and child labor.
Nearly 70% of the world’s cocoa, including Godiva’s, is sourced from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, where cocoa farmers and their families live on less than $1 per day—well below the global poverty line of $1.90/day.
Child labor, a symptom of extreme poverty, has been a known problem in West African cocoa fields for nearly two decades. The US Department of Labor found more than 2 million children work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa—such as burning fields, applying agrochemicals, carrying heavy loads—and many do not attend school.
Thousands of consumers have asked Godiva to take action on child labor, and the company is listening. Godiva has taken first steps to improve conditions on cocoa farms in West Africa by working with the Cocoa Horizons Foundation. They have also finally made a public commitment to source 100% certified cocoa by 2020.
But Godiva needs to do more.
Most major companies have commitments to have 100% certified cocoa in their supply chains by 2020, and the companies provide regular updates about their plans and progress. Many companies are also going beyond certification, and are implementing programs to support farmers and better address underlying causes of child labor in communites.
Godiva hasn't shared who certifies its cocoa. Godiva hasn't shared any plans, progress, or metrics about the amount of certified cocoa in its supply chain. And Godiva has not publicly announced any programs to go beyond certification and better support farmers. Without this information, consumers won't know if Godiva will hit its goal of 100% certified cocoa by 2020, and if Godiva's efforts are truly helping farmers.
Making a commitment is not enough. Godiva needs to demonstrate that they are walking the walk and talking the talk.
Godiva’s cocoa purchases should pay farmers a fair wage, allow children to go to school instead of work in the fields, and empower cocoa growing communities. Farmers should also be trained in best practices so that their cocoa is grown in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Godiva is already a leader in when it comes to luxury chocolate and plans to double its sales to $2 billion in the next few years – join us in encouraging them to become leaders in transforming the cocoa industry so that it is better for both people and the planet.
Dear Ms. Young-Scrivner, As someone who enjoys eating chocolate and sharing it with those I love on special occasions, I was disappointed to learn that Godiva does not share specific plans, timelines, and programs to ensure that your supply of cocoa is fully sustainable and free of child labor by 2020. Throughout West Africa, cocoa farmers and their families live in poverty. To be truly sustainable, Godiva must be able to trace where its cocoa is coming from down to the farm level, and under what conditions it was grown. I urge Godiva to ensure that all the farmers that produce your cocoa are lifted out of poverty. Additionally, forced child labor is a major problem on cocoa farms in West Africa. I strongly urge your company to purchase 100% of your cocoa certified by a third-party as being free of child labor. Additionally, you should establish an independent, community-based child labor monitoring and remediation system for all the farms that supply your cocoa. This will assure your customers that you do not rely on the exploitation of children to produce your products. Finally. as you make these commitments, I encourage you to share your progress with the public through a corporate responsibility report on your website that makes your progress on farmer income, child labor, and environmental protection fully transparent. Thank you for your time and attention to this message. I look forward to learning more about what Godiva is doing to ensure that your chocolate is sustainable, and does not rely on child labor.
Green America, 1612 K St NW Ste 600, Washington DC 20006, 1-800-58-GREEN www.greenamerica.org
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