Six million farmers depend on cocoa to make a living. Most of these farmers are working very small plots of land, oftentimes less than 5 hectares in size.1 To successfully get the cocoa to market, farmers face numerous challenges, including tree diseases that decrease productivity, a long supply chain with many traders in between, and limited infrastructure to move the cocoa through the supply chain. Additionally, cocoa production is very labor intensive, and sometimes this leads to exploitive labor conditions on the farm. Ensuring fair labor conditions and environmentally sound farm practices is very important to Annie’s, which is why we’re committed to source cocoa that is certified according to one of four internationally-recognized standards. We are in the process of converting all of our cocoa to meet this commitment, but as of FY2015, 79% of our cocoa was sourced from 3rd party certified farming communities who ensure fair labor and environmental responsibility.
The four standards that Annie’s recognizes in our commitment include Fairtrade International, Fair Trade USA, Rainforest Alliance and Utz. While these standards do have some differences, they each maintain rigor in assessing labor and environmental practices on the farm. Independent auditors verify that the standard is being met before certification is granted.
At Annie’s, we care about our products and their impacts from farm to fork, so we will continue to prioritize responsibly sourced ingredients and the benefits they can bring to farmers and the environment.