Chocolate is becoming a luxury product and that’s how it should be

Cocoa prices are skyrocketing and this is becoming the new normal. The real price of cocoa will have to be faced. Some of the major problems that plague our generation can now be seen reflected in this commodity. Most cocoa is not traceable, while it is much needed.

Weather conditions in the largest cocoa countries, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, are causing poor harvests. And there is already scarcity in the cocoa market due to increasing wealth and demand from Asia and Africa. Modern slavery and child labor still occur in the cocoa chain, and living wages or living income are rarely paid to cocoa farmers. Moving to countries where climate change has less impact such as Cameroon runs the risk of encouraging deforestation. All the higher is the need for transparency in this supply chain.

ImpactBuying did a study in 2020 in collaboration with UNIDO (United Nations agency) to see if blockchain technology would be applicable to make the cocoa chain from Ghana traceable. The conclusion was that technology was not the problem, traceability is feasible IF the parties involved, such as traders and government agencies, are willing to be open.

What is different from four years ago is that legislation is coming in at European level that prohibits the opacity of this chain. Companies must map and improve their risks in their chain (CSDDD) and report on them (CRSD), greenwashing “slave-free” is no longer allowed (Green claims directive) and products involving deforestation may not be imported or traded in the EU (EUDR). This all applies to the cocoa chain.

That the price of cocoa and chocolate products will go up is certain. What should be in the price are actual environmental costs and fair wages for farmers. High cocoa prices are the perfect opportunity to make this chain transparent and fair.