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Chocolate Scorecard: How did Kiwi favourite Whittaker’s do? – Tearfund NZ

This Easter, international aid and development organisation Tearfund New Zealand has partnered with nonprofit Be Slavery Free to bring you The Chocolate Scorecard.

“Kiwis can use The Chocolate Scorecard to help make wise choices to buy for people and planet this Easter,” says Duckworth.

New Zealand’s Whittaker’s is among 47 global companies that have been assessed this year. In 2023, Whittaker’s was ranked ninth across all sustainability indicators. This year they moved up three places, taking out sixth.

“Whittaker’s is delighted to have improved our ranking in the top ten companies in this year’s Chocolate Scorecard. 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,” Co-Chief Operating Officer Matt Whittaker says.

The brand is leading the industry in the areas of traceability and transparency, and its efforts to address child and forced labour. They have also made progress in their deforestation and climate policies and practices.

“A recent highlight has been achieving full traceability of all the cocoa beans we use to make our range of chocolate – well ahead of our target to achieve this by 2025,” says Whittaker.

The Scorecard surveys and grades the world’s largest chocolate companies to identify their performance on key human rights and sustainability issues in their cocoa supply chain.

As a country of chocolate lovers, we import NZ $155 million worth of chocolate each year. The Chocolate Scorecard exposes concerns within those supply chains.

“No one wants their Easter eggs tainted by exploitation,” says Tearfund’s Advocacy Specialist Maya Duckworth. “Yet, more than one million children are working as child labourers in the cocoa industry in West Africa’s Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where most of our cocoa is grown.”

Two other brands sold in New Zealand made the top five; Tony’s Chocolonely taking out first place and Mars Wrigley in fifth.

Mondelez International (who own Cadbury) and Lindt are among those lagging the industry when it comes to implementing strong policies and taking action to address human rights risks.

The Chocolate Scorecard reveals that chocolate companies are improving on human rights issues overall, but significant challenges remain.

This year, for the first time, all the companies surveyed have taken the first step to tackle child labour in their supply chains; developing a policy for monitoring, reducing or eliminating child labour. “This is a great start, but policies alone will not solve this issue,” says Duckworth.

Although all the companies have policies, only around 55% of cocoa supply chains are monitored for child labour.

“This scrutiny has uncovered 26% of cases involving the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry. However, hundreds of thousands of children still work in hazardous conditions to produce the chocolate we buy,” says Duckworth.

“Children work from sun-up to sun-down in the jungle, cutting down cocoa pods with machetes, and carrying sacks of 50kgs long distances on their heads. Some children develop hernias from the heavy loads and have scars from machete wounds,” says Duckworth.

The Chocolate Scorecard is yet another piece of research that exposes the need for modern slavery legislation in New Zealand. This would legally require businesses to identify modern slavery in their supply chains and address modern slavery risks in their operations. Alongside child labour, almost 30,000 people are enslaved on cocoa farms in West Africa.

Tearfund and other Kiwi aid agencies, businesses and organisations continue to call on the New Zealand Government to introduce effective modern slavery legislation that will make a meaningful difference to women, men and children trapped in situations of slavery.

Launched today by Tearfund, the exposé article “Unwrapping the Bitter Truth of Chocolate” dives into the issue of child labour in the cocoa industry and urges Kiwis to take action.



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