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.

Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign Welcomes Hershey’s Announcement to Source 100% Certified Cocoa by 2020

[News from the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign:]

Coalition urges Hershey and all chocolate companies to go 100% Fair Trade

The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign (www.raisethebarhershey.org) welcomed today’s announcement from the Hershey Co. (HSY) that it will be certifying 100 percent of its cocoa by 2020 and urged the chocolate giant to go 100 percent Fair Trade with incremental benchmarks.  Hershey appeared to join its main rival Mars in announcing its target for certification with a 2020 deadline.  Many other smaller chocolate companies are already 100 percent certified, a number of them using Fair Trade certification, the most rigorous certification for identifying and remediating the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign released the following joint statement:

“The Raise the Bar, Hershey! campaign is pleased that Hershey is announcing 100 percent certification for its cocoa by 2020. To truly address child labor, Hershey needs to make sure it is certifying all of its cocoa Fair Trade, the only certification that adequately addresses the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Hershey should certify and label one of its top-selling, brand name bars Fair Trade within the next year, and should certify and label all of its chocolates Fair Trade by 2020.  We urge Hershey to reveal how the company plans to get to 100% certification by disclosing the certifiers it will be working with as well as a timeline for converting specific product lines.

The Raise the Bar Hershey campaign, joined by over 150,000 consumers, union allies, religious groups, and over 40 food co-ops and natural grocers has been pressuring Hershey to address child labor for several years.  Just this week, Whole Foods Market (WFM) announced that it was removing Hershey’s Scharffen Berger line from its shelves until Hershey took steps to address child labor in its supply chain. The Raise the Bar, Hershey Campaign! and its allies will continue to encourage Hershey, and other chocolate companies, to improve labor practices on cocoa farms and plantations.”

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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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ILO implements project on elimination of child labour in Birim South (Ghana)

Source: GNA [from Ghana Web]


Akyem Swedru, July 6, GNA – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is implementing a programme dubbed: 93Cocoa Community Project” (CCP) to eliminate the worst forms of Child Labour in Cocoa growing communities across the country.

The project is titled: 93Towards Child Labour Free Cocoa Growing Communities in Cote D’lvoire and Ghana through an integrated area base approach.”

Mrs Stella Ofori, Principal Labour Officer, Child Labour Unit of the Labour Department of the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, speaking at the end of a two-day district level consultative workshop for cocoa growing communities at Akyem Swedru in the Birim South of the Eastern Region, said the project was to identify communities for interventions and control groups for impact evaluation.

The event brought together 45 participants from various heads of departments, cocoa farmers, District Assembly and unit committee members and cooperative institutions.

She said it was to establish an inventory of available social interventions and other complementary services to which interventions might be linked.

In addition, it was to document the status of child labour interventions in the district plan, budgets, monitor and evaluate frameworks and other mechanism for sustainability.

Mrs Ofori said the CCP would contribute to the National Plan of Action (NPA) through the awareness raising and development of action plan for implementation by the communities and to institutional and technical capacity building to fill the gap of NPA implementation.

“The CPP would also support child labour monitoring systems to track the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour through integrated approach,” she added.… Read the rest

U.S. DOL Proposes Revisions to List of Products Made from Forced or Indentured Child Labor

Initial Determination Proposing Revisions to the EO 13126 List

On December 15, 2010 the Department of Labor announced an initial determination proposing to update the EO 13126 list in accordance with the “Procedural Guidelines for the Maintenance of the List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured Child Labor.” The initial determination proposes to add Hand-Woven Textiles from Ethiopia to the list. It also proposes to remove Charcoal from Brazil from the list where, preliminarily, the Department of Labor has reason to believe that the use of forced or indentured child labor has been significantly reduced if not eliminated. On December 16, 2010 DOL published a notice in the Federal Register officially requesting public comment on its initial determination for a period of 60 days. On December 23rd, 2010 DOL published a correction to the December 16th initial determination. DOL will consider all public comments prior to publishing a final determination updating the list of products, made in consultation and cooperation with the Departments of State and Homeland Security. Until publication of the final determination, the current July 20, 2010 list remains valid. [Continue to see the list].

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