Research project: 2022 Chocolate Scorecard
Dr Stephanie Perkiss, Discipline of Accounting, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong
Research description: We worked with NGO partners, Be Slavery Free, other NGOs and academics, to grade the biggest chocolate brands and manufactures on their social and environmental impacts, specifically in relation to the production of cocoa. We engaged 38 companies to collect data through interviews, informal conversations, survey material and produced a Chocolate Scorecard. The Scorecard was circulated globally in the hope of both encouraging better monitoring and practices within companies' supply chains, and helping consumers chose more sustainable products.
The 2022 Chocolate Scorecard confirmed that significant issues regarding sustainability exist in the cocoa industry, including child labour, farmers not being paid a living income (both modern slavery abuses) and environmental problems such as deforestation and the use of chemicals. Although this year’s edition of the Chocolate Scorecard shows that there has been a substantial increase in some companies’ ambition and investment as they strive to meet the challenges, good practices are still to be ingrained within the cocoa industry.
Traceability by the chocolate manufacturers is vital to ensure they know and can monitor exactly what is happening throughout their supply chains, all the way to the farm gates in locations such as West Africa, and that policies and appropriate actions can be taken to tackle the sustainability issues.
There is a long way to go, and while the problems are not easily solved and not at all close to being solved, we appreciated seeing companies on a road to somewhere, as opposed to being on a bridge to know where.
This is an ongoing project with key partners: Fuzz & Carolyn Kitto and Etelle Higonnet (Be Slavery Free), Professor John Dumay (MQ), Cristiana Bernardi (Open Universities London), and Dr Stephanie Perkiss (University of Wollongong). Several other NGOs are engaged as research partners, promoters, expert advisors etc.