According to Grist, you should also look for chocolate with a single source because it cuts down on the supply chain between cacao farm, supplier, and consumer. In particular, look for chocolate bars that are labeled “bean to bar.” More expense does sometimes indicate higher quality: A chocolate bar with a hefty price tag (more than $7) “accounts for the labor, shipment, and processing of the beans.”
Another tool you can use when you’re buying fair trade chocolate is the Green America scorecard, which helps consumers determine which chocolate companies value good working conditions. The card evaluates companies based on their environmental, social justice, and human rights practices, as well as their attention to child labor issues and organic certifications.
As you can see from the card, companies like Alter Eco, Divine, and Theo Chocolate rank highly for their labor certifications, charitable donations, reforestation investments, and worker wages. Companies like Mondelez and Nestle, however, earned far lower scores as ethical chocolate companies.
In Ghana and the Ivory Coast, 90 percent of forests have been lost, and this is largely thanks to the cocoa industry. This is why companies’ efforts to reduce deforestation is a major factor in boosting their score.
So this Valentine’s Day, instead of trying to decide between Godiva and Nestle, remember this scorecard reach for another brand.
A version of this article about ethical chocolate companies was previously published on October 18, 2019, and was updated on February 12, 2021, with more information.