Mars & child labor concerns in its Ghanian cocoa supply chain

Another day, another company marred in a supply chain and sustainability scandal. Mars, the chocolate giant, had initially committed to a 2025 deadline for its Ghana cocoa supply chain.

However, allegations are now arising, suggesting a gap between claims and reality. It is estimated that about 65% of Mars’ West African cocoa supply chain supposedly complies with child labour standards. Yet, reports indicate that field supervisors falsify records. And the company’s leadership has failed to verify these records.

Facing accusations of negligent supervision and consumer fraud, Mars, Cargill, and Mondelez are currently embroiled in a lawsuit. The allegations centre on child labour within their supply chains, raising ethical concerns.

A whistleblower has come forward with a list of children supposedly benefiting from Mars’ monitoring system. Contrary to claims, investigations reveal some listed children still actively engaged in cocoa field labour.

For example, 15-year-old Munira continues working in cocoa fields despite Mars’ claims. Field supervisors gave her school supplies, but no follow-up on her education occurred.

Despite Mars’ pledge to eradicate child labour, challenges persist within its cocoa supply chain. This has brought the credibility of its 2025 deadline and ethical sourcing practices under scrutiny.

Increasingly attuned to ethical considerations, consumers may reevaluate their trust in Mars. The impact of these revelations on consumer perception remains uncertain, highlighting the need for transparent and effective supply chain practices.