Corporate Social Responsibility


At Thorntons, we recognise that we've got lots of social, ethical and environmental responsibilities. So here are a few of the things we do to make sure we're good to all the people we know...

For Our Customers

For our customers

Because we want as many people as possible to enjoy our mouth-watering chocolates, we like to offer as wide a range of chocolates as possible – including organic, Fairtrade and no added sugar ranges.

Like you, we know that eating too much chocolate isn't good for you, so all our products feature detailed nutritional advice so that you can make an informed choice. We also know that kids love chocolate, so we don't use any artificial colours or flavours in our children's products. If you're unsure about anything, just ask – we'll be happy to give you detailed information on any of our products or ingredients.

Our chocolate makers take real pride in all of their creations and like to make sure every single chocolate we sell is simply the best. If for whatever reason you're not 100% happy with your chocolates then please give us a call and we'll put it right.

Ethical Sourcing

Our thoughts on Ethical Sourcing

Ethical sourcing is very important to us at Thorntons. We are very aware of the impact we can have on communities and the global environment and particularly the value of fair trading practises in creating sustainable success.

Over 300 different raw materials go into our chocolates, which are sourced by our suppliers from all around the world. We ensure all of them maintain high levels of ethical, social and environmental standards by regularly visiting and auditing 95% of them in person.

Food safety is a real priority for us and so are issues such asethics, health and safety, employee pay, employment conditions and environmental policies and practices, all of which we review regularly.

It is also important to us that all our suppliers are treated fairly so we regularly review and revise our purchasing policy. We're proud of the standard of not only our chocolates that you enjoy but also our business standards because we like to build long lasting relationships that are open and honest.

Sustainable Sourcing

Sourcing Sustainable Cocoa for our chocolates

We buy all of our cocoa from two of the world's most respected suppliers Barry Callebaut and Cargill. We make sure that they ensure the ethical sourcing of our cocoa and, in particular, we do not accept the use of illegal, abusive or enforced child labour.

We are, however, pleased to say that they have excellent initiatives and partnerships in place with farmers, in the Ivory Coast and other countries, to actively improve sustainability and promote responsible labour practices.

Thorntons' two chocolate suppliers, Cargill and Barry Callebaut, ensure the ethical sourcing of their cocoa from cocoa farmers around the world and actively support the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and World Cocoa Federation programs to improve livelihoods of cocoa farm families and promote responsible labour practices. Between them, they employ thousands of people both directly and indirectly in purchasing and processing cocoa and monitoring and auditing the cocoa farms they work with.

It is also important to us that all our suppliers are treated fairly so we regularly review and revise our purchasing policy. We're proud of the standard of not only our chocolates that you enjoy but also our business standards because we like to build long lasting relationships that are open and honest.


Barry Callebaut and its Ivory Coast subsidiaries launched its Quality Partner Programme with cocoa farmer cooperatives in 2005. The program aims to create a sustainable, upward spiral in a challenging economic and political environment. In 2008, approximately 40,000 cocoa farmers, represented by 47 partner cooperatives, participated in the Quality Partner Programme.

Barry Callebaut's Quality Partner Program rewards cooperatives and their farmer members for providing quality beans whilst also investing in education, training and tools to help them achieve it. For the best beans a premium is paid to cooperatives in the program and extra premiums can also be paid at the end of a bean campaign if the average quality ofhe beans supplied fulfils certain quality criteria. Many cooperatives need financing assistance before and during the crop season to support their farmer members and for operational purposes. Barry Callebaut provides millions of Euros in prefinancing support to member cooperatives annually in the form of interest-free loans.

In addition, the Quality Partner Program provides farmers and their families with basic healthcare support services and includes child labor sensitization activities. The importance of schooling for children is emphasized and academic achievements are celebrated.

Barry Callebaut opened its first processing plant in the Ivory Coast in 1964 and the company has invested heavily in the country ever since. Barry Callebaut currently employs approximately 600 people in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon.


Cargill has been operating in the Ivory Coast since 1997 and employs nearly 500 people directly and 2,000 indirectly in purchasing and processing cocoa. High quality cocoa, grown in a sustainable way, is essential to the economies and livelihoods of farming communities in West Africa. Cargill is investing in, and supporting, activities to help cocoa farmers improve their livelihoods by promoting better agricultural practices and delivering support to rural communities.

The goal of these programmes is to help cooperatives provide their farmer members with access to better training in agricultural techniques to help them improve the quality of their cocoa crop and increase their yields. Training in how to manage their business and personal finances is also included.

In addition, the programme aims to improve access to healthcare services for farmers and their families and includes sensitization about child labor issues and the importance of schooling for children. In Ivory Coast and Cameroon, for example, 36 family farm schools have been established to improve education and provide practical farming skills to adults and children.

Thorntons is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation ("WCF"). One of the WCF's aims is to encourage responsible sustainable cocoa farming amongst small family-run farms and we are examining ways to make a greater contribution to improving the conditions of cocoa farmers.


Sustainable Palm Oil

We think it's really important to promote sustainable palm oil to prevent further destruction of the rainforest and its inhabitants. We registered as a member of GreenPalm which came about in November 2006 with the aims of promoting certified sustainable palm oil ; preventing the destruction of the rainforests ; and supporting the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

GreenPalm is a certificate trading programme, exclusively endorsed by the RSPO whereby manufacturers can offset their use of palm products by paying a producer for an equivalent amount produced sustainably. This gives producers an incentive to work sustainably and allows people whose livelihoods depend on palm oil production to continue making a living.

Our Community

Our community

Thorntons is as much about its people as it's delicious chocolates. We are always looking to recruit from the local community, especially when we have over 1,000 people working at Thornton Park and we also like to support local businesses and source many ingredients from UK-based suppliers. Our staff are keen to help out in the community too, raising money for charity. This year our charity of the year is the NSPCC and last year we raised over £60,000 to go towards their great work.

Our Environment

Our environment

We're working hard to reduce our impact on the environment, so we've set up lots of initiatives. These range from encouraging staff to switch off lights, right through to improving our chocolate-making machines and making our shops a lot more energy-efficient.

We're striving to cut the amount of fuel we use, by driving more fuel-efficient lorries and cutting down on deliveries. As for our packaging, we're reducing the amount we use, phasing out environmentally unfriendly plastics and sourcing more recyclable materials from sustainable sources.