A move beyond sustainability certification: The evolution of the chocolate industry's sustainable sourcing practices

Companies' sustainable sourcing practices play an increasing role in addressing the social and environmental challenges in agricultural supply chains. Yet the approaches companies take to regulate their supply chains continue to evolve. I use the chocolate industry as a critical case to explore how and why companies have changed their approaches to sustainable cocoa sourcing over the last 20 years. Drawing on an analysis of 205 company documents, 95 newspaper articles and over 50 in‐depth interviews, I trace the evolution of chocolate manufacturers' sustainable sourcing practices from a focus on industry initiatives to a commitment to sustainability certification and now to companies increasingly moving toward own‐supply chain programs. These shifts can in part be explained by the evolving salience of different stakeholder groups over time. This study highlights the dynamic nature of sustainable sourcing practice adoption and suggests companies are building upon previous strategies to incorporate more stakeholder voices over time.