From the Queensland Times:
MORE Australians are buying ethically produced Easter eggs this year but child labour is still a huge factor in global chocolate production, aid groups say.
Aid agency Oxfam said its Fairtrade Easter chocolate sales were up 50 per cent this year compared to the pre-Easter period in 2010.
“It’s really heartening to see so many Australians choosing to make a difference through their purchases this Easter,” Oxfam’s director of trading Nadine Silverberg said.
“Buying chocolate and other products with the Fairtrade logo is the best way of ensuring the products are free from child labour,” Ms Silverberg said.
Her comments came as a World Vision report revealed only between one and three per cent of global cocoa supply was ethically certified.
It said US research showed that from 2007 to 2008 almost two million children were working in cocoa-related activities in the Western African countries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
The region produces most of the world’s cocoa.
World Vision has also called on Australian chocolate companies to pay a level of two cents on every $10 of chocolate sales to help stamp out the use of child labour in the cocoa industry.
“The levy is likely to cost the chocolate industry in Australia about $2.5 million annually, a tiny amount compared to the $46 million they spent on advertising last year,” Rev Costello said.
“I’m sure Australian consumers would be happy to see less money spent on advertising if it means they can enjoy their chocolate Easter eggs knowing they have not been tainted with the worst forms of child labour.”
Rev Costello said making a difference would take years.
“Despite the best projections for growth in ethical cocoa, it’s expected 60 to 75 per cent globally will still be uncertified in 2018,” he said.
“We congratulate chocolate companies who have committed to using ethically certified cocoa.
“However, certification schemes alone won’t solve the problem and more needs to be done.”
Rev Costello said that as well as ethically certifying their cocoa, big chocolate companies needed to pay a fair price to farmers for their cocoa and invest in farmer training and monitoring programs.
“The chocolate industry is not short of financial resources to do this. They have just spent money at the wrong end of the supply chain for 20 years,” he said.