Godiva’s golden heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and decadent chocolate-covered strawberries contain some unsavory ingredients: poverty and child labor.
Nearly 60% of the world’s cocoa, including Godiva’s, is sourced from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, where cocoa farmers must feed their families – averaging six children – on about $2 per day. Poor farmers can’t afford to hire regular workers, which fuels child labor. Tulane University found more than 2 million children work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa—such as burning fields, applying agrochemicals, carrying heavy loads—and many do not attend school.
Thanks to pressure from concerned consumers around the globe, Godiva spent the past year exploring what sustainability means to the company and what a policy might look like. While we applaud Godiva for taking an interest in sustainability, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Many fair trade chocolate companies have sourced directly from cocoa farmers for years, increasing payments to farmers, improving working conditions, and helping get children out of the fields and into school.
Join us in sending Godiva a Valentine’s Day message: show love for the workers in your supply chain! Godiva needs a time-bound plan of action to trace its supply chain, prevent child labor and ensure cocoa farmers earn their fair share.
Dear Mr. Elsarky (President & CEO of Godiva Chocolatier):
As someone who enjoys eating chocolate and sharing it with those I love on special occasions, I was very disappointed to learn that Godiva’s chocolate is produced unsustainably.
Throughout West Africa, cocoa farmers and their families live in poverty. To truly be sustainable, Godiva must establish long-term and direct relationships with the farmers who grow your cocoa, and ensure farmers are earning a fair price.
Additionally, forced child labor is a major problem on cocoa farms. I strongly urge your company to purchase cocoa that has been certified by a third-party as being free of child labor. This will assure your customers that you do not rely on the exploitation of children to produce your products.
Finally, I encourage you to create a specific timeline to achieve these commitments, with regular public updates.
I know your company is working towards a goal of 100% sustainability by 2020—a goal which can only be met if the problems mentioned above are resolved.
Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear back soon how your company is taking action to protect cocoa farmers and their children in cocoa producing countries.