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Over 2 million children still work in the chocolate industry

20 April 2020

The chocolate industry has made zero progress in over two decades. 


“The use of illegal child labour 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 labour in West African supply chains originates from 2001. The pledge was extended in 2010 to reduce illegal child labour by 70% by 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 labour. 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.

About Tony’s Chocolonely:
Tony’s Chocolonely exists to make chocolate 100% slave free. Not just its own chocolate, but all chocolate worldwide. It’s an impact company making chocolate. Tony’s Chocolonely was founded in 2005 by three journalists from the Dutch TV show ‘Keuringsdienst van Waarde’ after they discovered that the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers were buying cocoa from plantations that used illegal child labor and modern slavery. Since then Tony’s Chocolonely has dedicated its efforts to raise awareness about the inequality in the chocolate industry. They lead by example by building direct long-term relationships with cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, paying them a higher price and working together to solve the underlying causes of modern slavery. They want to inspire the industry as a whole to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate. Tony’s Chocolonely has grown to become the largest chocolate brand in the Netherlands and is now almost worldwide available, with offices in the Netherlands, USA, the UK and DACH.

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