Clif Bar chocolate sourcing update: still vague  »

Earlier this month, we told you about how our beloved Clif Bars are being shady about disclosing where they source their cocoa. We hope it’s not from child slaves, but we don’t KNOW, you know? 

Since then, some of our awesome readers have sent them inquiring emails, and reported back.* I’ll share what they heard below, but bottom line: Clif’s doing a lot of stuff that sounds really nice, but we’re not quite sure if it’s good enough. (Rainforest Alliance, for example, has been accused of greenwashing.) And they’re still being cagey about specifics.

My take? I’m glad people are paying attention this issue. I’m glad we’re telling the company how we feel. I’m glad they’re taking steps in the right direction. But I’m probably going to spend my vegan-activist-energy on a more egregious, obvious wrong. You? That’s your call.

Nickivarkvisser says:

So I just got a reply! I’m very happy to hear back so soon, and it seems like they are committed to sourcing ethically grown cocoa—SEEMS being the key word. I can’t help but notice that, though they are getting Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa and getting involved with the World Cocoa Foundation, the rep that emailed me back didn’t mention any future promises to transparency.

Anyway! This is the email they sent:

Hi Nicki,

Thanks for taking the time to contact us at Clif Bar & Company regarding our cocoa ingredients. Like many of our tasty ingredients, our cocoa comes from many sources around the world to ensure the highest quality and to meet our consumer needs. 

In 2013, 100 percent of the cocoa ingredients in CLIF Bars will be sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa farms support a healthy environment, promote the well-being of workers and their communities and adopt more efficient farming practices. We are also members of World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) a worldwide organization that supports independent cocoa farmers and their families at a grassroots level. All WCF programs help cocoa farm families raise their incomes while also supporting education and community development and contributing to a more sustainable supply of cocoa.

Also,all of our suppliers go through an extensive screening process for quality ingredient selection. In addition, we have a supplier code of conduct that we share with all our suppliers. This code speaks to our thoughts and values on legal, social, and environmental responsibility. We are a food company that strives to do business in a better way and respect the planet, people and communities where we live and work.

We know that there are concerns about the social conditions of cocoa farms. We take these matters seriously and are working with our suppliers to ensure sound, sustainable and socially responsible ingredients. Also, we are constantly evaluating our ingredient selectionto ensure that we have the highest quality ingredients from the best available sources.

Clif is committed to socially responsible sourcing practices and improving along the way.  We know we are not perfect and that creating a sustainable supply chain is an on-going process of continual improvement. We appreciate your support as we move forward.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.


Emily Zisman
Clif Bar & Company
Consumer Services

And Rick replies:

That’s nice (it’s the same reply I got). I responded, That’s nice. But the question was where *exactly* do you get your cocoa from *now*? What are some examples of those “many places?” Still waiting on that reply.

*Yes, you can just read their comments below the original article, but do you?

[Photo by Richard Masoner via Flickr]

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