Ethical Consumer Rates Mars, Nestlé, Mondelēz as ‘Brands To Avoid’ – Here’s Why

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Ethical Consumer Rates Mars, Nestlé, Mondelēz as ‘Brands To Avoid’ – Here’s Why

Last updated on December 4th, 2023 at 06:20 am

Dozens of leading chocolate firms have been heavily criticised. Only 17 out of 82 brands investigated have been judged to be using chocolate from suppliers that ensured farmers get paid enough to live on, according to a report from Ethical Consumer.

Therefore, there is a possibility that chocolate Santas and other Christmas treats have been produced with child labour. The consumer organisation rated Ferrero as poor and Mars Chocolate, Nestlé and Mondelēz, that owns Cadbury, as poor and “brands to avoid”.

Modern Slavery In Supply Chains

It recommended Tony’s Chocolonely and Chocolat Madagascar among brands that paid fair rates, and use chocolate made in the country of origin rather than from imported beans. That helps the economies of cocoa-producing countries rather than European manufacturers.

In terms of child labour, roughly 60% of the global cocoa supply comes from west Africa, and about four in 10 cocoa-growing households in Ivory Coast are estimated to use minors. The alarming figure increases to about six in 10 households in Ghana.

Often these children are taken out of school by their parents to help them with farming, said Katie Bird of the International Cocoa Initiative, a non-profit helping end child labour and forced labour in cocoa. “Farmer poverty is a significant contributing factor.”

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Chocolate Industry “Incredibly Unequal”

Ivory Coast and Ghana have laws against child labour. But police have been unable to patrol all plantations due to the size of the cocoa-growing areas, according to Mike Rogerson, a lecturer at Sussex University and an expert on modern slavery in supply chains.

Although international chocolate companies have been raking in billions of dollars, several cocoa farmers still live in poverty. Jasmine Owens at Ethical Consumer raised serious concerns over the chocolate industry being “incredibly unequal”.

“Most of the world’s chocolate is grown in west Africa … But it’s European and UK consumers who eat most of it. So we really do have a huge amount of power and responsibility over conditions for farmers … because we’re the reason why they are harvesting the cocoa.”

Responses From Chocolate Firms

In their response, Mondelēz referred to its sustainability report that said it aims to source all of its chocolate through its Cocoa Life programme by 2025, and a Nestlé spokesperson said Ethical Consumer’s report “does not represent the extent of our efforts”.

Ferrero noted that it “remains committed to its cocoa sustainability programme to achieve a positive and lasting impact on the cocoa value chain.” A spokesperson for Mars said the brand’s “ambition is that 100% of our cocoa is responsibly sourced globally and is traceable by 2025.”

About WR News Writer

WR News Writer is an engineer turned professionally trained writer who has a strong voice in her writing. She speaks on issues of migrant workers, human rights, and more.

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