Easter Scorecard: Chocolate Companies Earn "Rotten" and "Good" Eggs for Child Labor and Sustainability Practices

Hands holding cocoa beans
Etty Fidele
2021 Easter Scorecard: “Rotten Egg Award” Goes to Storck, While Alter Eco, Tony’s Chocolonely and Whittaker’s Get “Good Egg” Awards; Godiva Improves From 2020 Last Place Showing.

Washington, D.C. – March 17, 2021 – Ahead of Easter, many of the world’s biggest cocoa traders, chocolate manufacturers and retailers are still failing to address social and environmental concerns, according to the 2021 joint Easter Scorecard published by Be Slavery Free, Green America, Inkota, Mighty Earth, and National Wildlife Federation.

Storck, a confectioner with production facilities in Germany and 21 international subsidiaries, received the lowest marks – the “Rotten Egg Award'' – for its lack of responsiveness and transparency. Their brands include Werther’s Original, Riesen, Toffifee, Merci, Colourful World, and Bendicks.

The “Good Egg” was awarded to three highest-ranking companies:  

  • Alter Eco, a US-based company with distribution in the US and Europe, received its first Good Egg. The NGOs also acknowledged its partner Chocolats Halba / Sunray for Halba’s role in helping Alter Eco achieve sustainability goals.
  • Tony’s Chocolonely, a Netherlands-based multinational company, received the Good Egg for the second time in a row.
  • Whittaker’s, from New Zealand with products available primarily in Australia and New Zealand, also received the Good Egg for the second year in a row.

Previous Rotten Egg “winners” have since substantially improved their performance on sustainability across the board. 2020 Rotten Egg recipient Godiva made major progress on living income policies and its environmental work, and 2019 Rotten Egg recipient Sucden made progress on all categories of sustainability.

"With this scorecard, consumers in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and beyond can buy Easter chocolates from the heart. They now have clear guidance on which companies are shining and which companies’ treats are likely tainted by deforestation and human rights abuses,” said National Wildlife Federation Senior Advisor Etelle Higonnet. “Consumers can now buy chocolate with their eyes wide open and use their purchasing power to push laggards like Storck and reward industry leaders Alter Eco, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Whittaker’s.”

The groups surveyed 31 chocolate companies and cocoa suppliers, estimated to be supplying over 80 percent of the world’s chocolate confectionery. The companies were scored on the six most pressing sustainability issues facing the chocolate industry: human rights due diligence; transparency and traceability; deforestation and climate change; agroforestry; living income policies; and child labor. Brands were then placed into one of four categories, with those awarded a green bunny leading the industry on policy, or a red bunny for needing to catch up with the industry. Those companies who chose not to participate in the scorecard also received a red bunny.

Cocoa companies, particularly those in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, have taken an important step to increase traceability in their supply chains by mapping over one million farms since 2018, and most major chocolate companies have disclosed at least some of their Ivorian cocoa supply chains in Mighty Earth’s Cocoa Accountability map.

“We have seen the most positive progress in the traceability category in recent years,” said Charlotte Tate, Labor Campaigns Director at Green America. “Companies are getting better quickly on this issue, but most still aren’t crossing the finish line. In order to address all other issues in the scorecard, companies must first know where the cocoa is coming from. Without that information, there is little hope of ending child labor, farmer poverty, or deforestation. Companies must have fully traceable supply chains, paired with transparent reporting.”

Besides the traceability trend, the scorecard provides a snapshot on farmer income. “A staggering 180 million wrapped or boxed eggs are purchased for Easter every year. That doesn't include mini or creme eggs which are huge sellers. Not enough of the chocolate industry’s money goes to countries where cocoa is grown, or to cocoa farmers themselves,” said Fuzz Kitto, Co-National Director of Be Slavery Free in Australia. “Most cocoa farmers earn under $1 per day, with women farmers making as little as $0.30 daily – they are especially hard hit by economic disruption in this pandemic.”

Another trend in the Easter scorecard is the slow but steady improvement of Japanese companies on certain sustainability metrics over the past four years. However, Japanese chocolate companies still need stronger policies with monitoring and enforcement to end child labor, poverty and deforestation in their cocoa supply chains. The Japanese sector must evolve quickly to avoid underperforming relative to its global peers. The creation of a new “cocoa platform” launched by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2020 could be the key to address sustainability problems industry-wide by bringing together government, industry, and non-profits.

“The scorecard also shows that the pace for adopting agroforestry and more climate friendly farming practices is much slower than required,” said Samuel Mawutor, Senior Advisor at Mighty Earth. Transforming the cocoa sector from the problematic monocultures cannot be possible without a stronger focus on forest and farm restoration through agroforestry. He notes that “companies need to transition from tree seedling distribution and invest many more resources into growing and nurturing planted trees on cocoa farms and tree tenure security to ensure the uptake of agroforestry at scale across West Africa.”

“This scorecard sets the record straight on greenwashing versus real action,” said Johannes Schorling, Campaign Coordinator at Inkota. “Despite decades of voluntary industry commitments, poverty, hazardous child labor, and deforestation are still widespread in the cocoa sector. Most companies have only started to carry out due diligence, and many gaps remain. This corporate underperformance shows that we need robust due diligence legislation, because voluntary approaches have clearly failed.”

For more about the methodology of the Scorecard, go to https://www.greenamerica.org/chocolate-scorecard.


About Be Slavery Free

Be Slavery Free is a coalition of civil society, community and other organisations working together to prevent, abolish and disrupt modern slavery in Australia, the Netherlands  and around the world. Be Slavery Free has on the ground experience in preventing, disrupting and remediating modern slavery, with a particular focus on shining a light on slavery in supply chains. Be Slavery Free helped build momentum to pass Australia’s Modern Slavery Act. Since 2007 they have been working with the chocolate industry, advocating for addressing child labour and slavery in cocoa. More information on Be Slavery Free can be found at https://beslaveryfree.com

About Green America

Green America is America’s leading green economy organization, whose mission is to harness US economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Founded in 1982, Green America provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. More information on Green America can be found at http://www.GreenAmerica.org


INKOTA has spent the last 50 years campaigning to end hunger and poverty and make globalization work for all. With targeted campaigns, INKOTA aims to raise public awareness in Germany for the darker sides of globalization and the importance of human rights. INKOTA coordinates the “Make Chocolate Fair!” campaign, which advocates for better living conditions for cocoa farmers in West Africa. Furthermore, INKOTA cooperates with civil society partner organizations in the global South, helping them to campaign for justice and equality in their home countries. More information on Inkota can be found at  https://www.inkota.de/english/

  • Johannes Schorling (Central European Time) +49 30 4208202 57 schorling@inkota.de (German, English)

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. Mighty Earth works to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights - including in the cocoa sector. Mighty Earth’s team has played a decisive role in persuading some of the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at https://www.mightyearth.org/chocolate/

About the National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation, America's largest conservation organization with over 6 million members, works to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice. NWF has been on the front lines for wildlife since 1936, fighting for the conservation values that are woven into the fabric of America’s collective heritage. NWF’s international program combines expertise in natural resource economics, remote sensing and GIS, international law, and tropical ecology to advance market-based solutions and public policy to eliminate tropical forest loss. NWF promotes “zero deforestation” agriculture, focusing on commodities with the greatest impacts on forests and wildlife. More information on NWF can be found at https://international.nwf.org/about/

  • Etelle Higonnet (USA Eastern time), +1 202 848  7792. Etelle.Higonnet@nwf.org (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian)