GOAL: Increase incomes of families involved in growing cocoa in Ghana and Côte d'lvoire.

  • Status: In Development
  • Focus Area: Fair Labor
  • Start Date: Projected Late 2016
  • Contact: Russ Gaskin, RussGaskin@greenamerica.org202-253-8846


Cocoa Livelihoods is a proposed collaboration between International Labor Rights Forum, Green America, and chocolate industry stakeholders.  The initiative will increase net incomes for cocoa producers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, to ensure a more sustainable and equitable global cocoa supply.


There is an emerging consensus among industry representatives and child rights advocates about the need to improve cocoa farmers’ livelihoods.  Net incomes of cocoa farmers in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire are lower than those of farmers in many other countries and leave farming communities in an endless cycle of poverty.  This project will organize key influential stakeholders to analyze the root causes of the problem, develop and prototype solutions, as well as testing these solutions to see which ones are most effective in increasing farmers’ net incomes. 

While the benefits of this work are obvious for the farmers, other stakeholders benefit as well.  For the brands in particular, this work will result in a more sustainable, long-term, and higher quality supply of cocoa for their products. These two countries are vital suppliers of cocoa to the international market, yet low incomes threaten that supply in two vital ways: the cocoa farmer population is aging dramatically as younger generations seek other professions, and cocoa farmers are increasingly turning to more high-value crops, including palm oil and rubber. Chocolate companies will also benefit from increased reputational and brand benefits, and reduced risk of negative perceptions among consumers.