Mighty Earth’s most recent investigation finds that cocoa used in the chocolate produced by Mars, Nestle, Hershey’s, Godiva, and other major companies was grown illegally in national parks and other protected areas in Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The report, “Chocolate’s Dark Secret,” documents how most of the landmass in these areas has been converted to cocoa, and very little forest cover is left. The destruction of protected areas for cocoa threatens what’s left of the region’s important ecosystems and biodiversity, specifically the native communities and the elephant and chimpanzee populations.
The investigation and report comes at an opportune time to enact change within the industry. While previous policy has failed to address and solve the issues detailed throughout the report, there is hope that increased awareness of the issues outlined will lead to chocolate companies adopting more sustainable practices.