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2 million children work in the chocolate industry

14 april 2020

Chocolate industry made zero progress in two decades 


“The use of child labor on cocoa farms in top producers Ivory Coast and Ghana has risen over the past decade despite industry promises to reduce it, according to a draft of a U.S. government-sponsored report seen by Reuters.” A quote from this article by Ange Aboa (Reuters).

Tony’s Chocolonely has been waiting for the report by NORC, but we haven’t seen the (draft) report yet. “The outcome of the report doesn’t surprise us, it’s depressing.” says Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Tony’s Chocolonely.

The pledge to end illegal child labor in West African supply chains originates from 2001. The pledge was extended in 2010 to reduce child labor with 70% in 2020. It’s almost two decades since the pledge and despite many voluntary programs and agreements, nothing has changed: there are still more then 2 million children working under illegal circumstances in the cocoa supply chain, in Ghana and Ivory Coast only.

The International Cocoa Initiative has developed the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System to successfully find and remediate illegal child labor. This program could and should have been implemented for the whole sector by now, but the industry has failed to invest in bringing that success to scale.

Extreme poverty is the root cause of illegal child labor. The cocoa price is still way below the Living Income Reference Price (LIRP). Voluntary company and industry initiatives clearly don’t work. That’s safe to say after two decades. It’s time for mandatory human rights due diligence legislation. Time is up. Sign the petition for due diligence legislation to make companies 100% responsible.

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