1 May 2019

Guideline on cocoa products

Cocoa is the essential raw ingredient in chocolate bars, chocolate biscuits and drinking chocolate. However, the cocoa sector faces a range of problems, including unstable economic and social conditions as well as the challenges associated with climate change. The REWE Group is therefore committed to improving conditions in cocoa-growing countries and is championing a more sustainable cocoa supply chain.


The cacao tree enjoys optimal climatic conditions in the world’s equatorial regions, with the principal cocoa-farming areas situated in West Africa. Small-scale farmers account for around 90 percent of all cocoa production. Many experience poverty since fluctuating global cocoa prices often mean that their incomes are below subsistence levels, preventing them from investing in replanting or plant protection products. Furthermore, structural poverty often leads to child labour on the plantations. Workforce exploitation and even forced labour are not uncommon occurrences. Cocoa farming can also damage ecosystems, because pesticides are used improperly due to a lack of educational opportunities, for example. As a result of extensive monocultivation and climate change, existing farming areas frequently become unproductive. Increasing deforestation clears more land for cultivation, which in turn has a negative impact on biodiversity.

The goals

The REWE Group has defined four objectives in establishing a more sustainable cocoa supply chain. Firstly, the company aims to use only certified cocoa in its private label products. It is furthermore committed to improving the transparency and traceability of its products and making origin information available to customers. In collaboration with stakeholders, the REWE Group is also working towards ensuring that growers are paid a living income. In addition, the company supports the use of more sustainable farming methods to conserve natural resources and promote biodiversity.

The measures

The REWE Group’s business partners are required to hold Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance/UTZ, Naturland or EU Organic certification. These certifications are intended to improve social and environmental production conditions. The REWE Group is also an active member of the “German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa”. The REWE Group is involved in the PRO-PLANTEURS project in the Ivory Coast, which is a joint initiative between the German federal government and the Ivorian government. The project aims to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and promote more sustainable cocoa production.