Since cocoa was brought to Europe from the Americas, the production of cocoa has been responsible for large-scale loss of tropical forests as well as more recently, the massive application of agricultural chemcals into fragile rainforest environments.

According to an article in Sierra magazine, cocoa growing is responsible for 14% of deforestation of the rainforests of West Africa and a large percentage of deforestation of rainforests in South America.

More recently, numerous articles and investigations have uncovered perhaps even a darker truth: slave labor. Many cacao producers in West Africa, notably in Ivory Coast, utilize young boys to work the plantations. These boys are convinced to work by men who troll the villages of Mali and other places. But once they arrive at the plantations and begin working, often under terrible conditions, their pay is often withheld. By then it's too far for the boys to go to return to their homes and they don't even have the bus fare to attempt it.

This horror has been exposed and reported to the large cocoa buyers in the US and EU and some have paid lip service to the problem, vowing to investigate it, yet little has changed.