For the largest chocolate company, Nestlé, go to dedicated page here.
Hershey Mars Cadbury Nestlé Small Companies
Issue Areas Labor and Human Rights (West Africa)
Ethics and Governance
MARCH 2009 3/11/09 Cadbury (CSRWire) Cadbury consummated a commitment
to source Fairtrade cocoa for its Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bar by end
of Summer 2009, tripling sales of Fairtrade cocoa for Ghanaian
farmers. In Britain, the bar is a top seller. Cadbury sources from Kuapa Kokoo, one of the first
cooperatives there to be Fairtrade certified. It validates the model of Divine Chocolate,
which is 45 percent owned by Kuapa Kokoo. The company
dates back to the co-op's 1997 annual general meeting, when the company partnered with the Body Shop and Christian Aid. "Cadbury has set a precedent for what's possible for large chocolate
companies to achieve," said Erin Gorman, CEO of the U.S. arm of Divine. "If
Divine can make 100 percent of its chocolate Fair Trade and create additional
value for farmers through ownership of a brand -- just think what else is
possible. Activists such as the International Labor Rights
Forum (ILRF) and Global Exchange also welcome
Cadbury's move. They
support the Commitment
to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing, a set of guidelines supported by over 60
chocolate companies (such as Equal Exchange) and
nonprofits (such as Green America). 03/11/09 HersheyHershey is the largest US manufacturer of chocolate and candy with revenues of about $5 billion. It has a long tradition of care for its local community. Responsible Shopper Profile: HersheyHershey, Nestlé, and Mars have all been criticized for sourcing cocoa from plantations that employ slave labor and trafficked child labor. Hershey maintains that the criticisms are misinformed. The company helped fund an independent survey of cocoa farms in 2002, which uncovered no cases of forced child or slave labor, but did find health and safety issues. Hershey promised to adhere to the Harkin-Engel Protocol that aims to ensure fair labor standards in cocoa production by 2005. Hershey has recommitted to responsible cocoa growing through its own supplier code established in 2007.Hershey has kept 80 percent of its production volume in the U.S. and Canada. The Hershey Company is based in Hershey, Pennsylvania and employs 15,000 people. Hershey's bought the small, rapidly growing Dagoba and Scharffenberger chocolate companies.
03/08/07Hershey Supplier Code of Conduct, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Hershey has committed to creating a rigorous supplier code of conduct for labor practices, health and safety, environment, food safety and quality. The code will apply to cocoa imports and the sugar, nuts, dairy and packaging supply chains. The decision responded to shareholder action by Walden Asset Management. Hershey will be working with non-profits Verité and Business for Social Responsibility. Hershey says it will update the code as the company becomes more experienced in these issues. 1/12/08 Mars Comment on Mars, MNinWI. "I have written to Mars who I understand now owns Dove too and asked them about [conditions of workers in West Africa and related initiatives] but no reply. I am very disappointed in them. I would pay more for good chocolate that I knew did not involve child slavery."
Small Chocolate Companies 8/2/07 Divine Ethical Future of Chocolate is Divine [Ghana], Financial Times. Divine Chocolate seeks a competitive edge by giving the growers of its cocoa beans a stake in its business and connecting them with customers. Some 45 per cent of the company is owned by the people who grow the cocoa beans that make its chocolate. Divine, by giving producers of raw ingredients a financial stake in the business, seeks to connect consumers more closely with the company. Divine is now owned by (1) the co-operative Dutch financial and development group Oikocredit, (2) a fairtrade group Twin Trading and (3) aid agency Christian Aid. Refers to Asda, The Body Shop (part of L'Oréal), Co-op, Euromonitor, L'Oréal, Mars, Nestlé, Starbucks, Tesco, Twin Trading, Waitrose, Wholefoods. For activist site on fair trade, see Go Green. Labor and Human Rights 1/30/08 Cocoa Verification Board: Comment, Susan Smith, National Confectioners Association. The governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast are leading the implementation of a certification program for cocoa farming labor practices that will not just identify problems...but will drive change. Both countries have publicly released their first certification reports: both reports provide a detailed, unflinching look at what's happening on cocoa farms. That is a considerable change from where things were, back in 2001. Resources and programs are being aligned with the issues raised in these reports -- like children's exposure to unsafe farming tasks and access to education. Ongoing programs are raising farm family incomes (by 20-55%) for thousands of West African cocoa farming families; improving access to education and addressing community health issues like HIV/AIDS and malaria. And these programs are expanding.Much work remains to be done. There is no easy fix: success requires a sustained commitment. But we are seeing signs of progress.
9/24/07 Age Discrimination Flourishes in Mexico, USA Today....In Mexico...blatant age discrimination is not only tolerated but expected... Although slimy hiring practices are widespread in Mexico...age discrimination is the most common, labor-rights groups say... The offenders aren't just Mexican companies. In one recent newspaper ad, Office Depot sought a checkout supervisor age 22 to 35 for a store in a Mexico City suburb. Job websites are full of similar offers from Mars, 7-Eleven, Marriott Hotels and other non-Mexican companies. Most companies did not respond to requests for comment on their employment ads. Others said the ads were not meant to exclude certain people and that older candidates were welcome to apply.
06/07/07Ivory Coast Cocoa Funds Arms, Corporate Watch. London-based Global Alliance reports that cocoa exports funded as much as 30 percent of the Ivory Coast government’s military expenditure during one six-month period between 2002 and 2003, and has provided about $30 million a year to rebel groups since 2004. Cocoa revenues fund both government and rebel forces, just as diamonds and timber fuelled the civil war in neighboring Liberia.
5/23/07 World Cocoa Foundation Initiatives in West African Cocoa Communities,. CSR Wire. The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) today announced a significant, multi-year partnership to provide greater opportunities and a brighter future for young people living on cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Through teacher training, and curriculum development, agricultural and life skills training, the ECHOES Alliance will improve access to quality, relevant education for thousands of children living in cocoa farming communities in West Africa. The ECHOES Alliance will build upon and expand programs sponsored by the WCF, Mars, Incorporated, The Hershey Company, Cloetta Fazer, Kraft Foods, ED&F Man, OLAM International and the Norwegian Association of Chocolate Manufacturers. The Foundation also announced an expansion of its work to educate cocoa farmers on safe, responsible labor practices. Building upon current programs that have proven successful, these new efforts will help children on West African cocoa farms by reducing their exposure to potentially hazardous working conditions... This new effort is supported by contributions from Barry Callebaut, the Hershey Company, Kraft Foods and Mars.
04/03/06.Hershey Shareholders Call for Report on Company's Cocoa Sourcing, Global Exchange. Hershey shareholders presented a resolution calling for a report on the company's cocoa sources. The resolution was designed to determine whether Hershey purchases cocoa from Cargill, ADM and Nestle, all of which have been implicated as sourcing cocoa from farms that use slave and child labor. US chocolate companies agreed to work toward ending illegal child labor on cocoa farms vis-a-vis the voluntary Harkin-Engel Protocol. However, the protocol expired on July 1, 2005, and the industry failed to develop a system to certify that US chocolate products are sourced without the use of forced child labor.
10/28/05 Hershey and Mars Use Cocoa Harvested by Indentured Children. Global Exchange. Hershey, along with M&M's/Mars, dominates the $13 billion dollar chocolate industry, much of which comes from the Ivory Coast. It has been found that children have been forced or tricked into leaving their homes to work as indentured servants on cocoa plantations. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 children work on these plantations, some as young as 11 years old. The children work an estimated 80 to 100 hours a week. The Ivory Coast is said to provide 43 percent of the industry's cocoa.
04/20/04 Area Churches Boycott Hershey over Slave Labor in West Africa, Ethical Corporation.In April 2004, 40 churches around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Hershey is headquartered, initiated a boycott against the company designed to raise awareness of the plight of children forced to work as slaves in cocoa plantations in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Although Hershey, along with other chocolate producers, has made efforts to develop an industry-wide monitoring system, the religious groups called the company's current approach to the issue "inadequate, sluggish and ineffective". Environment 1/28/08 British Food Makers Aim to Save Water - and Money, Reuters. Several major British food manufacturers joined forces on Monday with a pledge to help the environment by saving water, and with it money. The pledge by 21 firms including Cadbury Schweppes, Tate & Lyle and Nestle UK is part of a wider initiative under the auspices of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) to cut carbon dioxide emissions and packaging and improve energy efficiency. [also refers to Mars Snackfood as signatory]. Comment: Now they should have these efforts certified.
11/19/07 How Chocolate Can Save the Planet, NPR. Joao Tavares..., along with his brother and father,...grow cocoa [in Brazil] using a method called cabruca — cutting down just a few of the tall rainforest trees, and planting the mid-height cacao trees underneath... The World Agroforestry Center and the chocolate manufacturer Mars Inc. are currently studying how carbon storage can be measured on cabruca-like farms, and whether a carbon credit system would help farmers — and the environment. Comment: Why not enlist the Forest Stewardship Council?
7/2/07 Coke Develops Thirst for Sustainability, Financial Times. Anti-Coke websites...claim the business model of the world's leading soft drinks group involves "waste, pollution and questionable nutrition". But Dominique Reiniche, president of Coke's European business, says the company is developing a more proactive corporate culture: "I think we have to do more in terms of the environment [and] climate change.” Coke was among the companies praised by the European Commission in 2006 for promising to put restrictions on its marketing to children. Snack food companies like Mars, Unilever and Kellogg's are a year behind the soft drinks industry. Coke has enlisted the help of the WWF to find ways to cut back and replenish the 290 bn liters of water it uses annually. Comment: Here's an opportunity for the WWF to monitor and report on corporate water use so that consumers are informed.
Governance 1/5/08Hershey's, Mars, Nestle and others in price-fixing investigation, Wall Street Journal online. The antitrust division of the US Department of Justice is looking into pricing by Hershey’s, Mars, Nestlé, and some others who they think may be involved in price fixing to hedge against the high cost ofmilk. The Canadian authorities were on the case first about a month ago.Comment: Hedging in this case would be risk-avoidance. Price-fixing is illegal and is a reprehensible use of oligopoly power to disadvantage suppliers or consumers or possibly both.
5/1/06 Proxy Resolution on Suppliers for Hershey, Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility. At the 2006 shareholder meeting, Harrington Investments is calling on Hershey to "review and report to shareholders on all sources of cocoa supply purchased for manufacture of all company products, including a breakdown of percentage of total volume by supplying company or source. Furthermore, it is requested that this review and report to shareholders be conducted with a particular reference to potential financial and reputational risks incurred by the company as a result of its relationships with [Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Nestlé].” Comment: This must inevitably be part of Hershey's CSR commitment.
4/5/06 Hershey CEO Paid $11.3 Million, AFL-CIO. In 2006, CEO Richard H. Lenny made $11,349,910 in total compensation including stock option grants from Hershey Foods.
Hershey Brands 5th Avenue, Alaternatives, Almond Joy, Breath Savers, Candy, Caramello, Care*Free, Chipits, Chipits baking chocolate, Fast Break, Fruit Stripe, Glosette, Good & Plenty, Gum and mints, Heath, Hershey's, Jolly Rancher, Kit Kat, Krackel, Milk Duds, Mounds, Mounds coconut flakes, Mr. GoodBar, Oh Henry, PayDay, Peln Pelo Rico, Reese's, Rolo, Skor, Special Dark, Twizzlers, Visconti, Whatchamacallit, Whoppers, York, York Bites, York cookies, York Swoops, Zagnut, Zero.
CSR-Related Stories (2008) from Confectionery News Ferrero to change Nutella ad, following ASA ruling - Ferrero UK has been told to remove its recent TV advertisement for Nutella, after a British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) verdict that it contains misleading information about nutritional content. Confectioners demand new technology for healthy foods - Confectionery manufacturers are increasingly looking to new processing and packaging firms for new technology, to create products specifically targeted at the health market. Comment: The move to better nutrition in snack foods is a major push of global firms like Pepsico. Fairtrade branded unfair by UK think tank - A UK-based policy institute this week slammed Fairtrade, saying that the practice distorts the market and traps some of the world's poorest farmers in a cycle of poverty. Comment: The U.S. Cato Institute issued a report earlier along the same lines. Functional chocolate creeps up on mainstream - A quarter of Western consumers are interested in chocolate with physical or emotional health benefits, according to Barry Callebaut, indicating that there is a strong market for functional products. EC not phased by 20,000-plus health claims - The European Commission insists it is on track with the process of tabulating the thousands of health claim petitions submitted to it by member states and European trade organisations, but industry sources are not so optimistic. News briefs: Cadbury, Hershey and Swiss confectionery - The sale of Cadbury subsidiary Monkhill is finalised, a Hershey director leaves his post, and the Swiss sweet industry experiences stable sales at home but higher sales abroad. Tate & Lyle makes massive fairtrade sugar switch - Tate & Lyle is to convert its entire retail sugar range to fairtrade in the largest fair-trade switch ever made by a UK company. Indian chocolate demand fuels domestic cocoa increases - In response to rising demand in the chocolate industry and reduce dependency on imports, Indian cocoa producers have said they will increase domestic cocoa production by 60 per cent in the next four years. Ricola pushes into UK functional market - Riding the wave of the functional trend, herbal sweet firm Ricola is hoping this year to boost its share in the UK market to become the number one healthy confectionery company in the country. Thorntons maintains profit growth - UK chocolatier Thorntons yesterday posted an increase in net sales for the fifth quarter running, as the company's business recovery plan continues to prove effective. Innovation raises Nestléabove raw material impact - Repositioning on a healthy food platform and investing in research of value-added ingredients has lifted Nestle out of the reach of raw material prices and other economic encumbrances. Comment: Here is an example of the beneficial impact of using branding to take a product out of the commodity (=death of profits) category. Ghana pledges sustainable cocoa push - report - The Ghanaian cocoa board is planning to significantly step up cocoa production in the country over the next three years in a nationwide shake-up of how the crop is farmed, according to press reports. Reduced packaging egg set for Easter launch - Cadbury Schweppes is trialling an unboxed chocolate egg in the UK this Easter, after consumers called for the company to be more environmentally friendly and use less packaging. Comment: This is the Wal-Mart effect. Do what the consumers want, and save money in the process. That unwanted packaging costs money. It's win-win-win to reduce it. Industry fights bill on food ad watershed - The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is opposing a private members bill that pushes for a 9 pm watershed on advertising unhealthy foods, condemning it as 'disproportionate' and 'contradictory'.Comment: Children are assumed not to be up after 9 pm. Rising mood food segment led by chocolate, analysts said - Chocolate has come out on top as the star of the emerging mood food category - but its future maybe under threat if companies fail to win health claims for their products. Valentine's attracts unusual chocolate choices - While chocolate has always been a favourite for the Valentine's Day holiday, functional and unusual chocolate ingredients will dominate sales across the US this year, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA). Pomegranates beat apples for antioxidant boost: study - The juice of pomegranate is more effective than apple in boosting the body's antioxidant defences, which decline naturally with age, reports a new study. German authority suspects chocolatiers of price fixing - The Federal Cartel Office in Germany has raided the offices of several confectionery giants over allegations of fixing the price of chocolate, according to news reports. Lab study questions sweeteners for weight control - Sweetening foods with artificial sweeteners like saccharin may lead to increased body weight and fat build-up, suggests a study with rats that goes against intuition. The ethical cocoa confusion - While most consumers agree that ethically sourced cocoa is no bad thing, an ever increasing number of different schemes risks muddying the issue and puzzling chocolate fans. Comment: This is the outcome of an interesting game that is played out in the dance among companies and NGOs. If one company in an industry uses NGO X to vouch for its environmental or social claims, then another company in the industry may wish to go with NGO Y. The purpose is in part to associate the company brand with something unique, and in part to thwart the First Mover advantage of the company that is the first to come out with an NGO connection. For consumers, retailers and suppliers, however, the requirements of serving multiple buyers become more than a nuisance, and this creates limits to the proliferation of NGOs and a tendency to return to a small number. Blue Smarties are back thanks to Spirulina - An all-natural colouring derived from seaweed has put blue Smarties back on the shelves following their removal over two years ago in response to concerns over artificial additives. Mars, Nestlé promise ethical cocoa supply - Global confectioners Mars and Nestle have joined a sustainable cocoa program, which aims to establish a traceability system for all farmers in the Ivory Coast. Comment: The issue of child slavery in the production of cocoa is one that is not going away soon. West Africa - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sierra Leone - is the focus of concern. Global Exchange is a leading NGO activist in this area. Consumers demand guilt-free indulgence - There is increasing scope for healthy yet indulgent products as consumers refuse to sacrifice taste for nutrition, according to a new Datamonitor study. Branding vs label info: who's the enemy? - Product branding and information provided to consumers on food labels are again at loggerheads, and industry doesn't seem likely to accept new EU labelling proposals without a fight.
CSR IN THE CHOCOLATE INDUSTRY
Hershey, Mars, Cadbury Schweppes
By Dina Rubinstein (posted by permission), 4/2/2008
My perfect ending to any meal?A warm molten chocolate cake.My favorite part of a Carvel ice-cream cake?The chocolate crunchies.My ultimate ice-cream flavor?Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup.Isn't it clear?I am a chocoholic.I almost always choose to eat desserts that have chocolate in them and I will always reach for the M&M's over the skittles.Chocolate makes me feel good; it's a comfort food and takes me back to my childhood.My mom loves to tell me that when I was a toddler I never liked to eat my vegetables, but I never refused chocolate and my preferences have not changed too much.Rainbow and lace cookies take me back to my grandmother’s house, chocolate ice-cream was the dessert of choice in my parents’ home and Snickers bars are what I always craved at the candy store.Chocolate is also a major part of the holidays I celebrate including the Hanukah Gelt, chocolate-covered Passover Matzo and a box of Godiva for Valentine’s Day.To me, and millions of people around the world, chocolate equals happiness, it makes you feel good and nostalgic and that is not by accident; otherwise why would Hershey’s new line of chocolates be named Hershey Bliss?
Corporations spend hundreds of millions of marketing dollars to associate these feelings with their crave-able branded chocolate treats.Some of these feel good chocolate products include:Almond Joy, Hearth Bar, Hershey Kisses, Milk Duds, Whoppers, Cadbury Cream Eggs, Yoo-Hoo, Snickers, Dove Bars and my favorite, Twix.These are the brands of three major chocolate manufacturers: The Hershey Company, Mars Incorporated and Cadbury Schweppes.
These manufacturers make up a large share of the market in the chocolate industry and in order to continue their positions at the top they need to keep marketing, promoting and most importantly selling their feel good treats.However, not all is cheery in the profitable world of chocolate - there is a dark side to manufacturing chocolate.I believe that Hershey, Mars Incorporated and Cadbury Schweppes invest a tremendous amount of time and money to make sure the dark side of chocolate is never associated with the lighter side of chocolate and they also look to improve upon the dark side of chocolate.
To illustrate, on the one hand a Cadbury Egg brings joy to so many children’s faces while on the other hand so many other children suffer to produce this joy.Those who suffer are primarily the children who work in the cocoa plantations of West Africa.They toil to produce tons of chocolate that Americans eat each year.It is estimated that in the West African nation of the Ivory Coast alone more than 600,000 children work on cocoa fields and research "...reveals that up to 80 per cent of the children in the cocoa fields are being exposed to dangerous practices such as unprotected use of chemicals, carrying heavy loads, brush burning and using machetes.About half of these children do not go to school.There is also evidence of children being trafficked.The trafficked child will often live with the cocoa farmer's family but as a second class citizen.The child won't go to school, won’t get paid and will do the dirtiest and most dangerous work on the cocoa field." (Slavery and Exploitation in the Cocoa Trade, Tim Costello, couiermail.com.au).
The dichotomy between the joy of chocolate and the misery of cocoa sourcing is almost not to be believed but Hershey, Mars and Cadbury Schweppes, along with other industry partners, governments, non government organizations (NGO's), international agencies and cocoa communities do all that they can to make the sourcing as socially responsible.These varied partners do this not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because social responsible sourcing is proven good business as "the chocolate industry needs a stable supply of raw ingredients" and "... that a truly sustainable cocoa supply (requires) a coordinated effort of all interested parties" (marsincorporated.com).
One of the pioneers in socially responsible cocoa farming is The Hershey Company.Hershey is committed to making a difference in the communities where they live, work and do business.This commitment dates back to the values of its founder, Milton S. Hershey, who left the majority of his wealth to a charitable trust, and this commitment is vital part of both Hershey's heritage and who Hershey is today. (hersheys.com)In keeping part with the Hershey tradition, they take a leadership role in improving the lives of the cocoa farmers and their families in order to promote sustainable cocoa farming.
Hershey takes a holistic view of sustainable cocoa farming by seeing the value in improving cocoa farming in a variety of ways including: improving farmers’ incomes, protecting the tropical ecosystem, ensuring responsible labor practices and improving access to education.This is vitally important since for the majority of cocoa farmers their crop is the major source of income for their families and communities (hershey.com)One of the ways in which Hershey looks to improve farmers incomes is to assist farmers in crafting more profitable crops, which is not always easy since crops are often lost, 30% on average annual loss, due to pests and disease (hershey.com).
One initiative that Hershey’s supports, as a member of the World Cocoa Foundations (WCF), is the Farmer Field Schools program which significantly raises farm family income through training cocoa farmers on how to increase productivity, reduce crop loss and to diversify into other crops (hershey.com).Specifically, through the Farmer Field Schools, farmers are taught to manage crop pests and disease through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, reducing their agricultural chemicals.(hershey.com)
Another related effort to increase cocoa farmers’ incomes, run through the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP), helps to organize West African Farmers to sell their cocoa collectively which helps them achieve a higher price for they commodities and so far these efforts have helped participating farmers in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast saw their incomes increase by 55 percent and 24 percent respectively.
Another part of Hershey’s holistic approach is to closely examine, and improve upon, the use child labor in cocoa sourcing.One way Hershey’s is taking steps to ensure responsible labor practices, especially in regards to child labor, is by joining with the worldwide cocoa and chocolate industry in singing a congressionally sponsored protocol, The Harkin-Engel Protocol which is designed to eliminate child labor from cocoa growing (hershy.com).Another partnership Hershey is involved in is the International Cocoa Initiative (internationalcocoa.org) and together with ICI Hershey is "actively helping farm communities in West Africa better understand the kinds of farm work appropriate for children"; (hershy.com) appropriate farm work means that these West African children should be spending more time in school rather then on the fields. The Hershey Company is working with the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH) to provide teacher training in the cocoa-growing regions of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.The Hershey IFESH program reaches more than 2,000 teachers and will benefit approximately 40,000 primary and secondary school students (hershy.com).
Hershey is not alone among the big chocolate manufacturing companies in their efforts to ensure more responsible cocoa sourcing.Mars Incorporated is also at the forefront of cocoa sustainability.Mars Incorporated also looks at cocoa sustainability as "a holistic, proactive global partnership designed to ensure future supplies of cocoa" (marsincorporated.com) and also as a responsible approach to its production so that the community in which the cocoa is produced can thrive.Mars' goes as far as to say that "(their) unique investments have launched a new era in cocoa". (marsincorporated)Mars sees cocoa not only a commodity, but also as a potential engine for economic growth, social improvement and environmental sustainability in the areas cocoa is made.
Mars is also a corporation that strongly believes in the art of "cocoa science" which aims to improve the stability of cocoa crops.Some of their methods include:breeding programs, bio-control management systems, responsible chemical control and farmers being trained to improve soil nutrients.Mars, like Hershey, is also a key player in addressing abusive child labor in the cocoa industry and also works in conjunction with the ICI, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the WCF and other interested parties to stop the terror associated with child labor on the cocoa fields.Mars is also committed to even going beyond the Harkin-Engel Protocol in order to meet the challenges of combating child mistreatment in cocoa farming.Mars' overarching goal is to fund programs in West Africa aimed at making a positive difference in the lives of cocoa farmers, their families, communities and the environment." (marsincorporated.com)
Joining Hershey and Mars in their effort for responsible cocoa farming, is the world's leading confectionary company, Cadbury Schweppes.Cadbury's commitment is evidenced by establishment of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, which seeks to "secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of around a million cocoa farmers and their communities in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean, through:Long-term commitment to improving farmer livelihoods and farming communities, direct farmer involvement alongside NGO partners and governments and Ghanaian President and United Nations pledge support." (Cadburyschweppes.com)
Cadbury Schweppes also recognizes the importance of responsible cocoa farming as a key element in their commercial success by ensuring a reliable, long term source of the right quality cocoa, produced to the high standards their business and their customers expect. (cadburyschweps.com).Similarly to Hershey’s and Mars, Cadbury is a member of the ICI and is active in partnerships, specifically with Earthwatch and Ghana Nature Conservation Research Center, to launch three-year project to improve biodiversity of cocoa farms in Ghana and establish the country's first cocoa farm eco-tourism initiative. (cadburyschweps.com)Another common theme in responsible cocoa farming that Cadbury Schweppes is involved in is the concept of helping to improve the lives of cocoa farmers by developing more sustainable crops and therefore generating more income for their crops.
One area in which Cadbury Schweppes appears to place more emphasis on regards to sustainable cocoa is their commitment to the Fair Trade Movement.Cadbury Schweppes wants all farmers to receive a fair return for their crops and Fair-trade is one way is of reaching this goal.In fact, Cadbury offers a Fair-trade chocolate though their Green & Blacks Maya Gold brand. (cadburyschweps.com).However, while Cadbury supports fair trade, they are realistic and recognize that the majority of cocoa farmers do not have access to the infrastructure that make Fair-trade possible, such as farm cooperatives, and look for others ways to help cocoa farmers to increase their incomes including:assisting farmers to collectively market their produce, help farmers to create a sustainable,environmentally and biologically diverse agricultural system.., implement pest and disease control management and boost investment in social infrastructure. (cadburyschweppes.com)The overall theme from Cadbury Schweppes, very similar to that of Hershey and Mars Incorporated, is that they want cocoa farmers to receive a fair return for their crops and to produce high quality cocoa beans in a sustainable way that creates wealth for the farmer, their families and the communities in which they live. (cadburyschweppes.com)
Joint Producer Action
It is clear that Hershey, Mars and Cadbury Schweppes believe that the only way to achieve their goals of sustainable cocoa farming is through public/ private partnerships with the chocolate industry, government, international donor and development organizations, NGO's and cocoa farmers.These groups together exist with knowledge and shared resources to achieve objectives that can lead to truely sustainable cocoa farming (marsincorporated.com).
A key participant in the aforementioned group is International Cocoa Initiative whose goal is to end child and forced labor in cocoa-growing (cocoainitiative.org).Of course, this is not an easy task for the ICI and their partners since most children do willingly work on their family cocoa farms but "most of these families are poor, often with little or no education, and their cocoa crop is their main source of income and children can be exposed to hazards unwittingly or through lack or awareness." (cocoainitiative.org).Additionally, during peak farm peak farming times children may be kept out of school to help on the farm often leading to low achievement or leaving school all together.However, by helping farmers and families understand the risk of certain activities and the illegality of other, the ICI is beginning to change the way cocoa is grown.(cocoainitiative.org)
The effective ICI was established in 2002, as part of the Harkin/ Engel Protocol, as a groundswell of opinion urging the chocolate industry to ensure child and forced labor were not used in the production of their products. (cocoainitiative.org)ICI continues to work with a broad range of stakeholders to identify the most efficient and effective ways to end abusive labor practices in cocoa farming, but the ICI too is realistic in that they understand ending abusive labor practices will not happen overnight and that it takes a long-term commitment from all those involved, from the cocoa farmer to the chocolate maker. (cocoainitiative.org)
Another key participant aside from the leading chocolate manufactures and the ICI in the quest for sustainable cocoa farming is the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).The mission of the WCF is to “...promote a sustainable cocoa economy through economic and social development and environmental conservation in cocoa communities" and there are four principals that guide their mission:long-term solutions matter more the quick fixes, partnerships drive success, community involvement is essential, and the chocolate industry plays a key role. (worldcocoafoundation.org)The WCF looks to companies like Hershey, Mars and Cadbury Schweppes to help achieve their goals through their energy, ideas and resources.Another promising initiative that the WCF leads is "Healthy Communities", which works with West African farmers to educate them on responsible safe labor practices, while also helping farm families earn more money for their crops.(worldcocoafoundation.org)
While much progress has been made in social responsible cocoa farming, there is still a long way to go.The cocoa industry and their partners are taking the next step to achieve sustainable cocoa farming – the third-party verification process for responsible farming.This is an extension of the Engel-Harkins Protocol and the industry is committed to expanding the pilot certification system to cover 50% of the cocoa growing areas of Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana by July 1, 2008.Independent verifiers will be in the fields for the fist time beginning in May 2008 (csrwire.com - press release from Verite).This is a huge step for a industry where 90% of the world's cocoa comes from small holdings owned by an individual or family and are typically 5 hectares (12.25 acres) in size (worldcocoainitiative.org) and the cocoa farms are generally small and un mechanized.
The Hershey Company, Mars Incorporated and Cadbury Schweppes have all made tremendous strides in the area of sustainable cocoa farming, but recognize they still have a long ways to go.They also all look at the key to success through public and private partnerships as sustainable cocoa is not something one person, manufacturer, government organization or NGO can do alone.I too realize that no manufacturer is perfect and that at the present time not all the cocoa we consume is perfectly "responsible" but I must give credit to the industry for taking the appropriate steps to lead themselves in the direction of sustainable cocoa farming.
Responsible cocoa sourcing is a necessity, not on option for chocolate manufactures for the following reasons.Each chocolate manufacturer relies on a high quality and steady supply of cocoa to meet their consumer’s seemingly unending demand for chocolate treats.A demand which can only be grown and maintained when chocolate continues to be associated with joy, because the day that chocolate stops equaling happiness and starts being associated with forced child labor is a day the chocolate industry is going to face a major problem that they may find it hard to recover from.