- Discount grocer Lidl and Fairtrade will launch a private label chocolate bar in milk and dark varieties starting Dec. 16. The bars will use completely traceable and sustainably sourced cocoa from Ghanaian farming cooperative Kuapa Kokoo, according to a press release on Wednesday.
- The Way To Go bars guarantee that farmers receive the Fairtrade Minimum Price for cocoa and the Fairtrade Premium, which is an extra amount of money for farmers, along with providing another sum that enables farmers to boost their income, diversify their products and develop higher-yield farming techniques.
- The bars come two years after Lidl received a low score on human rights organization Oxfam's "Supermarket Scorecard," which aims to highlight the economic exploitation of small-scale farmers in food supply chains and assess grocers’ publicly reported human rights policies and actions in their supply chains.
Lidl’s ethically sourced, private label chocolate stands out among grocers’ private labels. A report by labor justice organization Green America earlier this year found that of 11 retailers carrying chocolate, including Costco, Trader Joe's and Target, most need to boost their fair trade offerings and ramp up efforts to combat child labor and deforestation.
The additional income to farmers guaranteed by the Way to Go bars is likely in response to systemic poverty among cocoa farmers, which can drive child labor practices and environmental destruction, according to Peg Willingham, executive director of Fairtrade America.
Oxfam's "Supermarket Scorecard" two years ago found that Lidl failed to commit to adequate protection of the human rights of workers in its supply chain with the discount groce, receiving a low percentage score in the single digits, along with Albertsons, Kroger and Whole Foods. The low score may have compelled Lidl to overhaul its human rights policy earlier this year.
Among the promises of Lidl’s 2020 human rights and ethical trade policy are commitments to no child labor, fair pay and greater transparency of its direct food suppliers. As well as the Way To Go bar, Lidl has rolled out several other programs in high-risk supply chains for workers, including bananas, fruit and vegetables, and textiles.