Starbucks pressed for more details on cocoa supply chain sustainability

A global coalition of NGOs is calling on Starbucks to disclose where its cocoa is being sourced from and the plans it has for tackling systemic supply chain issues including deforestation and human rights violations.

Starbucks pressed for more details on cocoa supply chain sustainability

Be Slavery Free, Freedom United, Green America and Mighty Earth are campaigning for Starbucks to provide detailed information in its annual reporting on progress towards its commitments to sustainable cocoa sourcing. The business sources cocoa for its chocolates plus some baked goods and some beverages.

Starbucks’ most recent annual global environmental and social impact report did not include data pertaining to the origin of cocoa, nor did it include numbers relating to due diligence checks and remediation. This is despite the report stating that Starbucks’ cocoa sourcing approach is ““built on a foundation of traceability”.

The NGO coalition is urging Starbucks to provide this information.

It is also imploring Starbucks to set out updated plans to deliver a living wage to cocoa farmers, as part of broader plans to improve their wellbeing and safeguard their incomes for the future. Starbucks stated earlier this year that it would draw up a living wage plan for the cocoa supply chain.

According to Oxfam, some 90% of cocoa farmers in Ghana and the Ivory Coast do not earn a living income. They receive an average of 6% of the profits from each bar of chocolate sold in the Global North. On such a low income, risks include malnutririon, a lack of access to education and medical care, and the pressure to enroll children in work to make ends meet.

Be Slavery Free gave Starbucks an overall rating of the second-to-lowest possible grade in its most recent Chocolate Scorecard. It concluded that it is only “starting” to implement good policies regarding human rights and wellbeing in supply chains.

Starbucks did provide an updated plan on farmer wellbeing and supply chain deforestation monitoring in the spring, when it joined the Cocoa and Forests Initiative. However, this did not include plans to reach a living wage.

Mighty Earth’s senior director Dr Julian Oram said: “We’ve been engaging with Starbucks for over a year but we’re still in the dark as to how the world’s largest coffee chain sources cocoa for its chocolate products, including sprinkles for cappuccinos.

“Starbucks’ customers deserve to have full confidence that the chocolate beverages and snacks they are buying from the company’s stores are not laced with deforestation and child labour.”

edie has reached out to Starbucks for a comment.

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