Tearfund releases 2024 Chocolate Scorecard: How ethical are Kiwis’ favourite brands?

Publish Date
Thursday, 21 March 2024, 12:55PM

Tearfund has released a new Chocolate Scorecard. Where does New Zealand’s Whittaker’s rank?

Chocolate is in the spotlight as Easter approaches and New Zealand’s collective sweet tooth has us importing $155 million of chocolate annually.

With most of our source cocoa grown in West Africa’s Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire — where there are an estimated one million child labourers, explains Tearfund advocacy specialist Maya Duckworth — how can Kiwis know the conditions behind what they’re eating?

“No one wants their Easter eggs tainted by exploitation,” Duckworth says.

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To bring transparency to the category, Tearfund NZ has partnered with the non-profit, Be Slavery Free, to provide Kiwis with insight into their favourite brands, assessing 47 companies.

This morning the international aid and development organisation released its findings in its latest Chocolate Scorecard.

Each brand was assessed across multiple sustainability indicators, including traceability, transparency, liveable wages, child and forced labour, deforestation and pesticide use, earning it a total score.

New Zealand company Whittakers ranked sixth — moving up three places from its position last year, where it landed at number nine on the list.

The business is pleased with the news. “Whittaker’s is delighted to have improved our ranking in the top 10 companies in this year’s Chocolate Scorecard,” said Matt Whittaker, co-chief operating officer, in a statement to media. “It’s a great validation of the programme of continuous improvement that we have in place to honour our commitment to ethical and sustainable chocolate-making.”

It recently achieved full traceability of all its cocoa beans — a target it had set for 2025 but reached ahead of schedule.

The top five included two other brands sold in New Zealand: Tony’s Chocolonely, which topped the list, and Mars Wrigley which came in fifth.

All companies surveyed had taken steps to develop policies that monitor, reduce or (ideally) eliminate child labour — however only 55 per cent of supply chains are monitored for child labour, and beyond this practice, almost 30,000 people are estimated to be enslaved on cocoa farms in West Africa.

Tearfund says the New Zealand Government needs to implement legislation around modern slavery.

This article was first published in the NZ Herald by Emma Gleason and is republished here with edits and permission.


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