Working with Industry - Cocoa

Workers sorting cocoa beans

Tesco is committed to improving working conditions within our supply chains and empowering workers. In the cocoa industry challenges of child labour are well documented and high levels of poverty combined with limited access to education increase the risk of labour exploitation. In recent years there has also been a greater focus on cocoa as a driver of deforestation.

To ensure that all our cocoa is sourced responsibly we conducted a business-wide review of our Own Brand cocoa sourcing. This included speaking to a number of industry stakeholders and reviewing sustainability programs that ensure good practices. We subsequently made a number of commitments regarding our sourcing.

Responsible cocoa programs

All of the cocoa required for our Own Brand chocolate confectionary sold in the UK is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Additionally, all the cocoa used in our other Own Brand products (such as biscuits, cakes, desserts and cereals) is responsibly sourced through a combination of responsible cocoa programs – Rainforest AllianceUTZCocoa Horizons, and Fairtrade. We have evaluated each one of these according to our core responsibility requirements including:

  1. Being third party independently verified or certified,
  2. Promoting more environmentally sustainable cocoa agriculture, and
  3. Promoting farmer livelihoods and enhanced productivity,
  4. Promoting better labour conditions on cocoa farms and children’s education,
  5. Looking to benefit cocoa communities overall through the enhancement of the above.

Each program helps cocoa farmers to grow their cocoa in a more sustainable and ethical way, promoting good agricultural practices, helping them achieve higher yields, and helping them to increase their incomes. The programmes also help grow awareness of ethical labour conditions for workers and the importance of education for children. Through all our cocoa sourcing, we will therefore be helping to benefit farmers, their families, the environment in which they grow their cocoa trees, and the wider community.

World Cocoa Foundation

Since 2015,  we have been members of the World Cocoa Foundation. This multi-stakeholder industry platform seeks to create a sustainable and profitable cocoa economy, thereby improving the lives of cocoa producers and their families. Through our membership, sourcing and work with our suppliers, we want to support the work of the World Cocoa Foundation, increasing positive impact on cocoa production and on the communities that depend on it.

The World Cocoa Foundation has also helped to organise a new public-private partnership – called the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) and in 2017 Tesco signed the Cocoa and Forests Initiative statement of support. The CFI brings together key private and public sector players to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa sector. In 2019 we recommitted to the CFI and the Retailer Action Plan . The most effective role we can play in supporting the Cocoa & Forests Initiative is through engagement with our traders. As a result, Tesco led the establishment of the Retailer Cocoa Collaboration (RCC), through which we will meet the commitment of the Retailer Action Plan.