Clif Bar Won’t Reveal its Cacao Source. This Care2 Member Won’t Stop Until it Does.

Some Care2 members get fired up when they read a news item and decide to create a petition. For others, a Care2 petition is part of their ongoing work on an important issue. The latter is true for Lauren Ornelas, the founder and executive director of the Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.), a vegan nonprofit that seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by helping people recognize the power of their food choices.

Her target is Clif Bar.

“To my nieces, Kylie, Kelsie, and Katie, who are quickly going from being annoying little girls to inspirational young women. I wish you everything your hearts desire! Love, Auntie Nicky, a woman of LUNA.”

From this warm message on the packaging of my Luna Nutz Over Chocolate Clif Bar, you would assume Clif Bar to be a compassionate, open-minded company. Exploring further, you could find on their website excellent shots of outdoors adventures: climbing, hiking, biking, running, all made easier with the consumption of a Clif Bar product.

The company, which prides itself on its social awareness, makes many treats which are in fact delicious and a favorite among vegans.

This all sounds great, right?

Actually, no.

As Ornelas explains, the F.E.P. has been working to raise awareness of the 1.8 million children in Ghana and the Ivory Coast toiling in the chocolate industry, where they may be exposed to the worst forms of child labor, including hazardous work and slavery.

As part of this project, the F.E.P. has contacted more than 100 companies that have disclosed the country of origin of their chocolate — but Clif Bar isn’t one of them.

Clif Bar Refuses to Disclose its Source of Cacao

When F.E.P. contacted Clif Bar, to ask them where the chocolate the company was using was sourced, Clif Bar declared that this was proprietary and they would not share that information.

Ornelas explains what happened next:

We decided to write a more formal letter of request to the owners on behalf of Food Empowerment Project (May 31, 2011) and did not receive a response. Eventually we spoke to people within the company who said they would not disclose.

Clif is a corporation known for being socially responsible, so we thought this would be easy for them to do given the atrocities that are taking place for chocolate sourced from Western Africa. Unfortunately, with their lack of transparency, it seems they are falling short when it comes to honoring social responsibility.

Later they stated they would be transparent about country of origin for all ingredients, except for chocolate.

Over 75,000 Signatures!

So Ornelas decided to start a petition with Care2, and has so far gathered over 75,000 signatures. Wow!

Here’s why this is so important: Plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast together supply 70 percent of the world’s cocoa. For years, these farms have used child slaves, who work 12 hours a day. They cut cocoa pods from trees with heavy machetes, slice the pods open, scoop out the beans, and put them in the sun to dry.

Then they stuff the beans into bags and load them onto trucks bound for the United States and Europe. Children are not paid; they are cut off from their families; and when they don’t work fast enough, they are beaten.

Meanwhile, dozens of other companies have disclosed where they source cacao, ranging from small operations like Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates to much larger corporate labels like Kirkland (Costco). So why not Clif Bar?

Take Action Now!

If you agree that Clif Bar should see that it is in their best interest to disclose where they source their cacao, please sign and share our petition urging Clif Bar to raise the bar on child slavery.

And if you feel equally passionate about a particular issue, why not start your own petition and make a difference?

Photo Credit: Kyle Hale

70 comments

Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a month ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

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Yvonne Wey
Yvonne Wey2 years ago

Thanks for the information

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jordan G.
Jordan G2 years ago

Clif Bar needs to come clean.

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Janis K.
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn P2 years ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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