Chocolate is processed from cocoa pods. About two-thirds to three-quarters of the worlds cocoa comes from West Africa and since 2001, world attention has focused on Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire as two cocoa producing countries that employ large numbers of child laborers to harvest cocoa. The chocolate industry is a $50-billion industry with billions of consumers. West African cocoa is sold to commodities brokers and mingled with cocoa from other sources. Despite the efforts of the chocolate industry, child labor advocates, and the West African governments, many chocolate products consumed in the U.S. and Europe are—or could be—the products of child labor.

Nestle Audit Finds Child Labor Violations in Cocoa Supply


By Dermot Doherty and Stanley James – Jun 29, 2012 9:51 AM ET [from Bloomberg]

Nestle SA (NESN) needs to step up measures to combat child labor in the Ivory Coast cocoa industry, according to a study requested by the Swiss food company that found “numerous” violations of its internal work rules.

The maker of KitKat chocolate bars needs to improve internal monitoring to fight the practice as four-fifths of its cocoa comes from channels for which information on labor is opaque, the Fair Labor Association said in a report. Nestle plans new monitoring programs in two cooperatives this year and in 30 by 2016, with the FLA assessing progress, the Vevey, Switzerland-based company said in a response.

Nestle buys about a 10th of the global cocoa production and more than a third of that comes from the Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer. About 20 percent of the cocoa the chocolate maker gets from that country can be traced because it comes from Nestle’s sustainable-farming program, while the rest comes from the “standard” supply chain, which isn’t transparent, according to the report.

“Child labor is a more persistent problem than anybody believed,” FLA President Auret van Heerden said by phone. “What we’re talking about is changing the way companies in the industry do business, and Nestle has taken the first step.”

About 89 percent of Ivory Coast children were involved in growing cocoa, according to a 2008 government survey.

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More Aussies Buying Fair Trade Eggs

From the Queensland Times:

AAP

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. Read more

Australian Snack Company Agrees to Source “Ethical” Cocoa

Arnott’s ensure Tim Tams are free from child labour
[source: AFN Thought for Food]

by Josette Dunn

World Vision Australia today welcomed Arnott’s announcement that it will source ethical cocoa that has not been made with the use of child labour for all of its chocolate-based products, including the iconic Tim Tam biscuit.

In response to a public campaign by World Vision earlier this year, Arnott’s said on 30 March that it was “committed to playing its part by sourcing sustainable cocoa that avoids the use of child trafficking and unacceptable forms of child labour” by the “end September 2010″.

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New Attention Given to Child Cocoa Workers in Ivory Coast and Ghana

25 October 2010
Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast
Photo: AP

Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast

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This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and more than half of those beans come from two countries in West Africa. But the situation is not all sweetness for poor cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast and neighboring Ghana. The United States has announced ten million dollars for renewed efforts to end the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa industry in those countries.

The grant will support efforts to reduce poverty so parents do not have to depend on the labor of their children. Another aim is to give children more access to education.

The money will go toward a new “Framework of Action” related to an international agreement from two thousand one. That agreement is called the Harkin-Engel Protocol. American Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Elliott Engel led negotiations with the chocolate and cocoa industries.

The Department of Labor announced the grant in September, along with seven million dollars promised by the international cocoa industry. The governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast have also promised resources and policy support for the new efforts.

Kevin Willcutts is an official in the Labor Department’s Office of Child Labor.

KEVIN WILLCUTTS: “We’re at a point in time when we think we have a real opportunity because with the signing of this joint declaration, the parties are coming together and saying that we share a common commitment to address the situation and to offer children better hope for the future through education.”… Read the rest