Good eggs, bad eggs and rotten eggs

Original Beans scores highest of all chocolates on the Chocolate Scorecard 2023. The company achieves the greatest progress.

Shortly before Easter, Be Slavery Free released the Chocolate Scorecard with the long-awaited “Good Egg” and “Rotten Egg” awards, using some humour to urge Big Chocolate to stop their dubious practices.

The entire report is here (PDF). And so, for the record, there is a world of difference between Original Beans and Tony’s Chocolonely, both socially and in quality.

Original Beans at the top

Normally, this scorecard is about Big Chocolate (i.e. Callebaut, Lindt, Starbucks, Mondelez, Godiva and others). But this year Original Beans participated and immediately won with flying colours. They received the “Good Egg” award for their regenerative approach to cocoa farming and chocolate production. We warmly congratulate them!

but….. uh…Tony’s is second?

Needless to say, we are familiar with how Original Beans works. But that Tony’s Chocolonely is in second place surprised us (read the reason below). We grab Tony’s own 2022 annual report:

About a third (4,117 tonnes) of the cocoa beans they use (total: 14,002 tonnes) comes from long-term partners. The rest is purchased on the free market.

Among eight of their long-term partners in Ivory Coast, 37.6% have at least a living income. We know from the Cocoa Barometer that this is pretty much the existence minimum. So among those eight partners, 62.4% of the farmers have no living income.

As for child labour, 4.4% occurs among existing partners and 53.8% child labour among newer partners (where newer is not defined)

To Tony’s’ credit, they are transparent in their annual report, but this is hard to match with the green eggs. The scorecard shows a distorted picture to those who have not read through properly.

In third place, we see Beyond Good (formerly Madécasse), which, thanks to the bizarre set of regulations between European BIO and USDA Organic, we can no longer import and distribute.

Reason: emphasis on progress

The actual, real-life situation plays a secondary role. So in practice, the difference between number 1 and number 2 can be huge. And in our opinion, this is the case between Original Beans and Tony’s Chocolonely. This is because the scorecard puts a lot of emphasis on progress. So a very bad brand can suddenly score high with some progress. The scorecard pays particular attention to the supply chain. So it is possible that the ideal chocolate brand that could (almost) not improve anymore, could score low in this way. But that, fortunately, is not the case.
It’s a bit like how I, always a sturdy and somewhat fat person, got a high grade in gym/sports in high school. The teacher thought I did well, but I was not half as good as Jan Hoogeboom, who spun in the flying rings and glided over the pommel horse, so to speak.