Obed Owusu-Addai — Managing Campaigner, EcoCare Ghana
Obed Owusu-Addai — Managing Campaigner, EcoCare Ghana

Chocolate industry grows but poverty among farmers persists — Report

The fifth edition of the Chocolate Scorecard (2024) has revealed significant growth in the chocolate industry.


The industry's forecasted revenue grew by 5.6 per cent last year, surpassing global economic growth estimates of 2.6 per cent, and it is expected to generate around $254 billion this year.

The improvement notwithstanding, key challenges such as farmer poverty remain unaddressed posing serious concerns. The Chocolate Scorecard is a report that evaluates global chocolate traders, manufacturers, brands and retailers against seven markers: traceability and transparency, Living income, child labour, gender equality, deforestation and climate, agroforestry and agri-chemical management.

By evaluating companies on social and environmental criteria, the Chocolate Scorecard provides valuable information for consumers to make ethical purchasing decisions and incentivises companies to improve their performance in these areas.

It is coordinated by Be Slavery Free, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with various stakeholders and aims to promote transparency, accountability and responsible practices within the industry. 

Key findings

According to the scorecard, improvements in traceability were evident in response to the European Union Deforestation Regulations (EUDR) yet achieving full EUDR compliance remains a work in progress.

It said companies were increasingly aware of their responsibility to ensure farmers get a decent income from cocoa, yet too many farmers remain in poverty. It further said child labour responses were increasing in effectiveness but the road to elimination was still fraught with issues mainly due to the lack of a scale of programmes. 

The scorecard also disclosed that a significant percentage of large chocolate companies were not yet deforestation compliant, despite the majority of companies indicating that they have a policy or commitment to no deforestation. 


The scorecard recommends that governments, NGOs, companies and consumers must work together to ensure that farmers are supported in meeting the requirements for EUDR compliance and are compensated fairly for their efforts.

“Companies must also work towards reducing their pesticide use and implementing more sustainable farming practices. It will take a concerted effort from all stakeholders to achieve these goals, but the future of the industry and the planet depends on it," it added.

Living income

At the launch of the scorecard in Accra, the Managing Campaigner of EcoCare Ghana, Obed Owusu-Addai, said it was encouraging to see that a majority of respondent companies (83%) recognised a living income as a basic human right.

He noted, however, it was concerning that only six companies were paying 100 per cent of their farmers a Living Income Reference Price. “The chocolate industry must continue to prioritise sustainability, fair labour practices and environmental conservation.” 

This includes ensuring fair compensation for farmers, promoting responsible sourcing practices, reducing pesticide use, and safeguarding against any child or forced labour and deforestation,” he said.

He added that legislations such as the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and consumer awareness which have led to demand for ‘better’ chocolate is driving positive change in the industry. 

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