Joining the World Cocoa Foundation

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.

To ensure that all our cocoa is sourced responsibly we have conducted a business-wide review of our own label cocoa sourcing. This included speaking to a number of industry stakeholders and reviewing sustainability programs that ensure good practices. 

In 2015, the first step we took towards ensuring our cocoa is responsible sourced was to become a member 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.

Because we also want to support responsibly grown cocoa through our sourcing, we have put in place a clear roadmap to reach 100% responsibly sourced cocoa by the end of 2018. All the cocoa required for our own-label chocolate products sold in the UK will be from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources by the end of 2018. We will also ensure the cocoa used in other Tesco UK products, such as biscuits, cakes, desserts and cereals, will be responsibly sourced by the same date. To reach this broader commitment and because different schemes are better placed in different geographies, we will source through a combination of responsible cocoa programs– Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Cocoa Horizons, and Fairtrade. We have evaluated each one of these according to our core responsibility requirements including:

  • Being third party independently verified or certified,
  • promoting more environmentally sustainable cocoa agriculture, and
  • promoting farmer livelihoods and enhanced productivity,
  • promoting better labour conditions on cocoa farms and children’s education,
  • 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. They also help grow awareness on ethical labour conditions for workers and the importance of education for children. Through our commitment, we will therefore be helping to benefit farmers, their families, the environment in which they grow their cocoa trees, and the wider community.

We have already started our journey, with 100% of our Easter eggs in 2016 supporting responsible cocoa programs, and we will continue working with our suppliers to meet this exciting new commitment. By working together to support responsible cocoa, we can have a real positive impact on cocoa farmers and their communities.