University of Oulu

Martins, F.P., Batalhão, A.C.S., Ahokas, M., Liboni Amui, L.B. and Cezarino, L.O. (2023), "Rethinking sustainability in cocoa supply chain in light of SDG disclosure", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 14 No. 7, pp. 258-286.

Rethinking sustainability in cocoa supply chain in light of SDG disclosure

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Author: Martins, Flávio P.1; Batalhão, André C. S.2; Ahokas, Minna3;
Organizations: 1University College London, London, UK
2Faculty of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, Caparica, Portugal
3Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
5Department of Management, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Venice, Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-13


Purpose: This paper aims to assess how cocoa supply chain companies disclose sustainable development goals (SDGs) information in their sustainability reports. This assessment highlights strategic aspects of sustainable supply chain management and reveals leveraging sustainability points in the cocoa industry.

Design/methodology/approach: The two-step qualitative approach relies on text-mining company reports and subsequent content analysis that identifies the topics disclosed and relates them to SDG targets.

Findings: This study distinguishes 18 SDG targets connected to cocoa traders and 30 SDG targets to chocolate manufacturers. The following topics represent the main nexuses of connections: decent labour promotion and gender equity (social), empowering local communities and supply chain monitoring (economic) and agroforestry and climate action (environmental).

Practical implications: By highlighting the interconnections between the SDGs targeted by companies in the cocoa supply chain, this paper sheds light on the strategic SDGs for this industry and their relationships, which can help to improve sustainability disclosure and transparency. One interesting input for companies is the improvement of climate crisis prevention, focusing on non-renewable sources minimisation, carbon footprint and clear indicators of ecologic materiality.

Social implications: This study contributes to policymakers to enhance governance and accountability of global supply chains that are submitted to different regulation regimes.

Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no previous study has framed the cocoa industry from a broader SDG perspective. The interconnections identified reveal the key goals of the cocoa supply chain and point to strategic sustainability choices for companies in an important global industry.

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Series: Sustainability accounting, management and policy journal
ISSN: 2040-8021
ISSN-E: 2040-803X
ISSN-L: 2040-8021
Volume: 14
Issue: 7
Pages: 258 - 286
DOI: 10.1108/SAMPJ-03-2022-0132
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © Flávio P. Martins, André C.S. Batalhão, Minna Ahokas, Lara Bartocci Liboni Amui and Luciana O. Cezarino. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at