Understanding Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate List
Food Empowerment Project publishes a list of companies that sell chocolates that we do and do not recommend. To make our list they have to make some vegan chocolates.
- To help people buy chocolate that does not involve the exploitation of human (children or adults) or non-human animals (such as cows and goats).
- To make sure consumers are informed about where companies stand on the issue.
- To encourage consumers to contact the companies and let them know how they feel!
Any companies that wish to change suppliers are provided with a list of wholesalers that make chocolate we do recommend.
Understanding our list
The list is made up of several categories:
Chocolate we feel comfortable recommending
The first category is pretty simple. These are companies that make some (if not all) vegan chocolates, as they do not include the suffering of non-human animals. They are transparent about the country of origin for their cacao beans and the beans were not sourced from areas where child labor and slavery are most pervasive or are from areas where companies are going above and beyond to support the workers and their families.
Includes companies that make some chocolate we recommend and some we do not. It will be important to look at the list of products under this category to be sure you are purchasing the ones we recommend.
These are companies that we know have been implicated in sourcing their cacao from farms located in areas where child labor and slavery are most pervasive.
Cannot recommend but are working on the issues in various ways
These are companies that responded to our request for information and are either under a particular certification, such as organic, and/or have indicated to us that they are aware of the slavery issue and care enough to work on it.
They are currently buying chocolate with the intention of not participating in child labor and slavery, but since they source from areas where the worst forms of child labor, including slavery are the most prevalent, we are not comfortable recommending them due to problems with various certifications.
Some of the companies that are using fair trade chocolate are not necessarily going to change suppliers, but they can be considered “informed” companies trying to do their part.
If they are using fair trade chocolate, then why aren’t they listed on our recommended list? It is unfortunate, but all certifications have been found to have problems. We acknowledge this might change, but for now, this is how they rank on our list.
Companies that are working with us to change suppliers are not listed.
Cannot recommend but at least responded
We list the companies that responded honestly but don’t make our list as they source from areas where the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, are the most pervasive.
Cannot recommend companies that would not disclose their supplier (no transparency for customers).
Not disclosing where their chocolate is sourced from is really no different than those companies that did not respond at all. We do not ask for supplier contacts; we simply ask from which country they get their cacao beans. Wanting to hide the information is an insult to consumers who care about this issue.
Cannot recommend: companies that did not respond.
As simple as that. They did not respond to our request. We encourage consumers to reach out to their favorite company if they see them listed here.
How do we contact the companies?
Food Empowerment Project emails the companies requesting where they get their cacao beans. If there is no response, another email is sent after two weeks – forwarding the original request. After another week passes, the two reminders are sent again, this time with a link to our list, letting them know they will go on our non-response list if we do not hear back. After a week with no response, we put them on our website. If the response is “Switzerland,” “USA” or some other non-cacao-producing country known for its chocolate, another email is sent reminding them we are talking about the beans, not the chocolate.
We attempt to update our list (which is also available as an app) once a month.
We encourage people from all over the globe to send us the names of companies that make vegan chocolate products that are not already on our list; we will look into the company to see where they should be placed on our list.