Child Labor in Your Chocolate? Check Our Scorecard

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More than 2 million children in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, according to the US Department of Labor1. While some companies have begun tracing their supply chains to prevent child labor, the vast majority of the 3 million tons of cocoa produced each year come from small farms in West Africa, where farmers and their children live on less than $1 per day2.

This scorecard will help you find ethically sourced and organic sweets, and understand what these labels mean. Brands marked "B" or higher rely on a third-party labor certification for all their cocoa, whereas "C" and below only certify a portion of their chocolate products at present.

This is, of course, not a comprehensive list of ethically sourced chocolate companies; however, the scorecard features companies who are also Green Business Network members, as Green America has screened them for their practices.


Green America's 2018 Chocolate Scorecard


denotes members of Green America's Green Business Network.

*These companies have pledged to be "100% sustainable" by 2020, without specifics or 3rd party certification

All Figures from the "Big Chocolate" Scorecard and the Cocoa Barometer. This list is not exhaustive of all chocolate companies. If your favorite chocolate brand is not listed, consider calling the company to ask about its commitment to ethical sourcing.

What The Certification Labels Mean


Fair Trade Certified

Fair trade prohibits forced labor, child labor, and discrimination, and protects freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. If child labor should surface, remediation guidelines are in place. Certified farmers are guaranteed a fair trade floor price for their cocoa beans as well as a social premium. In order to use the fair trade label, 100% of the primary ingredient must be certified.

Rainforest Alliance (RA)

RA standards prohibit the use of forced labor, child labor, and discrimination. However, the protection of the right to organize on RA-certified farms is not a critical criteria. RA does not require buyers to pay a specific minimum floor price for cocoa beans. RA reasons that by producing higher quality and sustainable cocoa beans, farmers should be able to earn a higher price for their beans over time.


UTZ certification prohibits forced labor, child labor, and discrimination and protects the right to organize and bargain collectively. In terms of pricing, UTZ states that premiums are paid to farmers for their certified products, but the price is solely based on negotiations between the buyers and farmers. Paying the legal minimum wage is required only after the first year of certification

IMO Fair For Life

The IMO Fair for Life guarantees that smallholder farmers receive fair payment and that workers enjoy good and fair working conditions. The Fair for Life system prevents forced and child labor and also includes detailed environmental criteria. Fair For Life certified products must use Fair Trade ingredients if available, and regardless, 50% of all ingredients must be Fair Trade in order for a product to bear the seal.

USDA Organic

Organic certification does not include labor rights standards. The program does not address wages, prices to producers, or management of cooperatives. Organic does require that 100% of the ingredients of a product be certified organic in order to earn a label. Organic certification also includes a grievance procedure and whistleblower protections.

Non-GMO Verified

The Non-GMO project verifies that products contain no genetically modified ingredients through testing and an annual audit. Non-GMO verification does not address labor issues or organic production methods.



Updated January 2017

1. DOL/Tulane University’s 2013/14 Survey Research on Child Labor in the West African Cocoa Sector

2. 2015 Cocoa Barometer


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