Chocolate Scorecard

The Fifth Edition of the Chocolate Scorecard (2024) has revealed that the chocolate industry is undergoing significant improvement, but key challenges such as farmer poverty remain unaddressed. However, the chocolate industry has the resources to address these challenges. It is powerful and lucrative. Forecasted revenue growth stands at 5.6%, surpassing global economic growth estimates of 2.6%. In 2024, it is expected to generate around US$254 billion.  

It is encouraging to see that a majority of respondent companies recognize a living income as a basic human right (83%). However, it’s concerning that only six companies were paying 100% of their farmers a Living Income Reference Price. The chocolate industry must continue to prioritize sustainability, fair labour practices, and environmental conservation. This includes ensuring fair compensation for farmers, promoting responsible sourcing practices, reducing pesticide use, and safeguarding against any child or forced labour and deforestation. 

 Legislations such as the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and consumer awareness which have led to demand for ‘better’ chocolate is driving positive change in the industry.

The Chocolate companies are scored on these sixe key thematic areas namely; Traceability and Transparency, Living Income for farmers, Child Labour, Deforestation and Climate Change, Agroforestry and Pesticides.



Improvements in traceability are evident in response to EU Deforestation Regulations (EUDR), yet achieving full EUDR compliance remains a work in progress. As companies focus on their supply chains, there is a risk that farmers may not receive the necessary support they require.  That is why investing in national traceability systems such as the Cocoa Management and Traceability System (CMS) being developed by the COCOBOD is the way to go.


Companies are increasingly aware of their responsibility to ensure farmers get a decent income from cocoa, but still too many farmers remain in poverty. Without additional financial support, this will continue. The recently passed Cooperate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) by the EU has now recognized Living Income as a human right issue. This will compel industry to begin realigning their purchasing practices to reflect the new paradigm.


Child labour responses are increasing in effectiveness but the road to elimination is still fraught mainly due to the lack of scale of programs. To realize total elimination all stakeholders including producer governments and the industry must work together towards a common goal targeting wider coverage and inclusivity. 


Environmental initiatives, such as climate targets, ending deforestation and use of agroforestry, are gaining momentum, in part due to emerging legislation (particularly in the EU) requiring that companies take caring for the planet seriously.  However, in Ghana issues such as tree and land tenure are still posing limitations for uptake of agroforestry. There is the need for legislative and policy realignment to support the implementation of agroforestry initiatives.


While many companies have policies on pesticide management in place, this hasn’t resulted in enough action on the ground. Overall we have not observed significant reductions in pesticide use.  


It is concerning to see that a significant percentage of large chocolate companies are not yet deforestation compliant, despite the majority of companies indicating that they have a policy or commitment to no deforestation. Companies must take concrete actions to ensure that their supply chains are free from deforestation, as the impact of deforestation on the environment, climate change, biodiversity, and local communities is significant.


  • Governments, NGOs, companies and consumers must work together to ensure that farmers are supported in meeting the requirements for EUDR compliance and are compensated fairly for their efforts. 
  • Child labour interventions need to be scaled up and to eradicate it in all supply chains, there needs to be traceability and a focus on addressing the root causes such as poverty that lead to its prevalence.  
  • Companies must work towards reducing their pesticide use and implementing more sustainable farming practices to protect the farmers (and particularly the children), the environment and to ensure the long-term viability of cocoa.  
  • It will take a concerted effort from all stakeholders to achieve these goals, but the future of the industry and the planet depends on it.  

The Chocolate Scorecard initiative, coordinated by Be Slavery Free in collaboration with various stakeholders, aims to promote transparency, accountability, and responsible practices within the industry. By evaluating companies on social and environmental criteria, the Chocolate Scorecard provides valuable information for consumers to make ethical purchasing decisions and incentivizes companies to improve their performance in these areas.