I’m a big chocoholic, in which not a day goes by that I don't have a piece of chocolate for dessert. Over the years I have tried many different brands, and I have found that my go-to brand of chocolate is Godiva, especially their dark chocolate ganache hearts. However, after completing this week’s review, I was very disappointed to find that Godiva is not a sustainable company. Despite the company claiming that they are making steps in the right direction towards sustainability, their lack of transparency makes me question whether or not they are really implementing these practices. There are more sustainable chocolate companies out there, such as Tony's Chocolonely, that I will consider purchasing, and I encourage consumers to do so as well.
Each dark chocolate ganache heart contains: sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, vegetable oil (palm, hydrogenated palm kernel, palm kernel), milk powder, butter oil (milk), emulsifier (soy lecithin), skim milk powder, salt, and natural flavor. Palm oil is a concerning ingredient, since the production of palm oil is often linked to the destruction of forests and abusive labor conditions. However, on their website Godiva claims that they have achieved 100% sourcing of sustainable palm oil and are a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RPSO), an organization that encourages markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. None of the other ingredients seem to have significant environmental or social issues. Regarding the packaging of the product, nowhere on the packaging does it say that it is recyclable. Furthermore, each chocolate is individually wrapped in plastic, which adds to the tremendous amount of plastic waste already in our ecosystem.
The production of cocoa is a large threat to sustainability. According to Green America, “Nearly 70% of the world’s cocoa, including Godiva’s, is sourced from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, where cocoa farmers and their families live on less than $1 per day—well below the global poverty line of $1.90/day.” Child labor is also prevalent on these cocoa fields. More than 2 million children work in hazardous conditions growing cocoa, and many of these children do not attend school. In response to many people pushing Godiva to end child labor, Godiva has partnered with the Earthworm Foundation, which will help Godiva to foster responsibly sourced cocoa. In addition, Godiva made a commitment to use 100% certified cocoa by 2020, however the company will not share who certifies its cocoa, nor how much of the cocoa is actually certified. This makes me question how committed Godiva actually is to achieving this goal. Furthermore, Godiva’s chocolate is purchased through third parties, which reduces Godiva’s ability to make sure their labor standards are met. Regarding environmental conservation, on their website Godiva claims that they are committed to no deforestation, implementing programs to reduce GHG emissions and water use, and supporting community forest protection and restoration. However, I cannot find any information whether or not these actions are actually being implemented. In addition, Godiva is not transparent regarding sustainability at their manufacturing plants. This makes me think that they are not being sustainable regarding energy use and waste production. Lastly, as of 2021, Godiva announced that they are closing their stores in North America, since sales were down as compared to previous years. This means that many more people in North America will purchase Godiva chocolates online, which will increase energy usage and pollution in transporting these products.
Godiva is not transparent regarding their labor practices at their manufacturing plants. The only information I can find on the Godiva website is that they will uphold the rights of all workers in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), adhere to the International Bill of Human Rights, and comply with the International Labor Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Furthermore, they claim that they will be in compliance with applicable laws, and prevent all forms of forced labor, child labor and human trafficking. Nevertheless, I wish there was more information provided by Godiva on their website.
Our Commitment to Sustainability | Godiva UAE
Tell Godiva to End Child Labor in It's Chocolate (salsalabs.org)
Corporate Philanthropy & Social Causes | GODIVA
Godiva fails to address labor rights, sustainability in supply chain, survey finds - Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (business-humanrights.org)
Godiva fails to address labor rights, sustainability in supply chain, survey finds | Supply Chain Dive
Are Sustainable Palm Oil Products Making a Difference? - Palm Done Right
Demand Godiva Chocolate Stop Reported Use of Child Labor - ForceChange
Godiva Chocolatier Closes All Its North American Stores and Cafes - Eater