According to a press release from Green America and the Environmental Investigation Agency Trader Joe’s ranks poorly among U.S. grocery stores when it comes to both ethical chocolate (in terms of child labor and deforestation concerns) and super-pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used as refrigerants. A new push by the groups tackles both issues in a bid to hold the popular food retailer accountable.
The new Don’t Discount Our Future, Trader Joe’s campaign urges the national grocery chain to improve its sourcing for private brand cocoa products and use of HFCs. The retailer received one of the worst scores on Green America’s Chocolate Retailer Scorecard, and the lowest score on the EIA’s Climate-Friendly Supermarket Scorecard on refrigerants.
Trader Joe’s shares little information about how it is addressing the risk of child labor and deforestation in the chocolate from which it profits. The campaign calls on Trader Joe’s to publicly disclose its chocolate supply chain; require all cocoa suppliers sourcing out of West Africa to use a child labor monitoring and remediation system; disclose how it is supporting efforts to pay cocoa farmers a living income, and commit to no deforestation by 2022 throughout its entire supply chain.
“There are over one million children in West Africa experiencing child labor in cocoa-growing, and cocoa farmers make less than $1 per day,” said Charlotte Tate, Green America’s Labor Campaigns director. “In order to end child labor in cocoa, ALL companies, including grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, must demonstrate that they are taking action to address the injustices in cocoa supply chains.”