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News, blog and backgrounds about the sustainability scores of brands

Chocolate could be more pure

We start off 2016 with our newest ranking of the chocolate sector. The results range from an A label (best performance) to an E label (worst performance) and are mixed. Similar to most sectors, most brands do not score higher than a D label. On the other hand, four brands receive an A label. These brands consist of the Austrian brand Zotter, German brand GEPA and Dutch brands Tony’s Chocolonely and Fair Trade Original. Luckily, some of these brands are also available outside of their home countries.

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The top performers
Of the A label brands mentioned above, Zotter is the absolute number one. This brand receives 22 out of a possible 28 points. Because of organic and Fairtrade certifications, the brand performs very well on environmental policy and labour conditions. GEPA, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Fair Trade Original all receive 21 points and share the second place. Similar to Zotter they perform very well on environmental policy and labour conditions because their chocolate is Fairtrade certified. When it comes to climate policy, the brands should work on increasing their scores even further by publishing more information on their carbon emissions.

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Four brands receive the second highest label, the B label, and show they are well on their way towards sustainable chocolate. These brands consist of Green & Black’s, the German brands ForestFinest and Die Gute Schokolade, and the Dutch brand Bio Plus. All brands carry at least a Fairtrade certification, and Green & Black’s and Bio Plus are also fully organic.

The general trend
Besides these top brands, the majority of the brands show too little effort when it comes to their performance on climate and environmental policies and on labour conditions. Most of the well-known chocolate brands reside in this group. On the other hand, many of these brands do at least show some steps on the road towards sustainability. With the majority of brands in the chocolate sector receiving a D label, the second lowest grade, this sector performs better than most sectors, where most brands are stuck in the lowest grade, the E label.

Of these brands, four receive a reasonable score with a C label, namely the Dutch brands de Ruijter, Venz, Chocomel, and Jamin, of which the first two are now owned by Heinz. All four perform reasonably well in the areas of environmental policy and labour conditions. This is because all of them carry the UTZ certificate for most, if not all, of their products. The largest group of D label brands are all part ofthree major international companies: Nestlé (with brands like KitKat and Rolo), Mars (which, besides Mars, also consists of brands like Twix, M&M’s, and Snickers), and Ferrero (with brands like Ferrero Rocher and Nutella). All of these brands often carry some certificate (Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and/or UTZ Certified) for part of their products and therefore receive some points. Nevertheless, these brands still have a long way to go to become truly sustainable. This is even more true for brands receiving the lowest E label, among which are well-known brands such as Milka, Toblerone, and Leonidas.

Help purify chocolate
The complete list of this research can be found on the overview page of chocolate brands. Of course we like to see better results, so look up your favorite brand and nudge it in the right direction. This can be done by sending them a message through their page on our website.

To be able to do our work, we need your support. Besides your contribution as a responsible consumer making informed decisions using our website, you can also support us financially or by helping in our research as a volunteer. Do you want to be kept up date about our research of the sustainability performance of well-known brands? Then follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Or, subscribe to our newsletter through our website.

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