Chocolate companies: help end child exploitation

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We are calling on Chocoladenfabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG (Switzerland), Ezaki Glico Co Ltd (Japan) , Ferrero Group (Luxembourg / Italy), Hershey Co (USA), Mars Wrigley Confectionery, division of Mars Inc (USA), Meiji Co Ltd (Japan), Mondelēz International (USA)  — including Cadbury and Toblerone, Nestlé SA (Switzerland), Pladis (UK) – including Godiva and Orion Corp (Korea):     

As the world’s largest chocolate companies, it’s high time you live up to your promise of eliminating child slavery in the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, but recent reports show it still persists.

Child slavery is a complex issue, but it can be effectively tackled by addressing the root causes that put children at risk of exploitation. Accordingly, I call on you to take the following steps:

Pay cocoa farmers a living income within the next five years.

Paying a fair price for cocoa will help to prevent cocoa farmers from turning to cheap and exploitable child labor, which in some cases constitutes child slavery. Based on research by VOICE Network, this means a farm gate price (per metric ton) of $3,166.[1]

Scale up child labor monitoring and remediation systems.

Child labor monitoring and remediation systems have been successful in identifying cases of child labor, including cases of forced child labor, in conjunction with local communities. This approach must be scaled to cover 100 percent of cocoa sourced, including direct and indirect supplies. This also means the enactment of mandatory human rights due diligence within your own supply chains.

Increase transparency and traceability.

The industry has made progress on both traceability and transparency; however, we encourage all companies that have yet to make their cooperatives public to do so. Additionally, we encourage all companies to reach 100 percent traceability of their direct and indirect supply chains within the next five years.

End all deforestation, regardless of legality, in both direct and indirect supply chains.

The economic pressures on cocoa farmers have forced them to push deeper into West African forests to meet production demands, contributing to environmental damage and continued use of forced child labor to clear land.

Rapid and large-scale reduction in pesticide usage.

Pesticides pose a risk to the health of all child laborers—including those in forced labor—along with surrounding communities and communal resources, such as water and soil. The continued use of pesticides at this level is essentially poisoning children and their environments, taking away from both their futures and their future livelihoods. There are proven alternatives, and as such, there is no reason for pesticide usage to continue in this way.

Prevent child trafficking and prevent child labor.

Boys from neighboring West African countries who choose to work on cocoa farms in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire must be informed of their rights and working conditions pre-departure. Companies also need to support preventative measures against child labor, such as making education about modern slavery more accessible for communities that are vulnerable to exploitation.

[1] https://www.voicenetwork.eu/200113-necessary-farm-gate-prices-for-a-living-income-definitive/

 

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