Is There Child Labor in Your Halloween Candy? Chocolate Scorecard Identified Good, Ghoulish Companies

Image: children in Halloween costumes holding sign, "Halloween." Title: Is There Child Labor in Your Halloween Candy? Chocolate Scorecard Identified Good, Ghoulish Companies
Green America’s Chocolate Scorecard grades chocolate companies on child labor and ESG practices. The worst companies include Godiva, Cadbury, and Ferrero.

WASHINGTON, DC – October 11, 2018 – This Halloween, much of the candy that trick-or-treaters will receive will have been produced by their own peers — child laborers working halfway around the world. More than 2 million children in Western Africa work in often hazardous conditions growing the main ingredient in chocolate, cocoa. That is why Green America updated its Chocolate Scorecard, which grades major candy companies on social and environmental practices, including certifications for forced labor, child labor and discrimination. The Green America Chocolate Scorecard can be found here:

Only one “F” was assigned in the scorecard and that went to Godiva. Other laggards include “D” graded Ferrero and a “C-” to Mondelez (maker of Cadbury products and the more upscale Green and Black’s chocolate bars). Six companies got “A” grades: Alter Eco, Divine, Endangered Species, Equal Exchange, Shaman and Theo Chocolate.

“Every Halloween, there’s plenty to be scared of in the candy aisle,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Consumer and Corporate Engagement at Green America. “That’s why Green America provides the Chocolate Scorecard, so consumers know which of their favorite chocolate brands are using ethically sourced, high-quality ingredients.”

“Child labor is a global problem, and there is a cruel irony in the fact that it is used to produce candy for other children,” said Caroline Chen, social justice manager at Green America. “When shoppers hit the stores to purchase candy to hand out on Halloween, they should consider the other children of the world that are affected.”

The Chocolate Scorecard identifies ethically sourced, certified sweets. The scorecard will also help consumers understand what the major chocolate companies are — and are not — doing to combat child labor in their supply chain.

The scorecard also identifies which companies have employed innovative programs and projects to address other underlying issues of child labor in cocoa-producing countries. Such programs include:

  • Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems, which work with communities and families to address why child labor is happening on farms;
  • Farmer income generating programs;
  • Traceability mechanisms for fuller supply chain transparency.

Consumer also should consult Green America’s The ABCs of Food Labeling guide, which defines common food labels and identifies those that are authentic, those that are mere marketing tricks, and many that fall in between.


Green America is the nation's leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides economic strategies and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems.