FOCUS ON: CHOCOLATE #1
At STOP THE TRAFFIK we love chocolate and hate injustice, and that is why we have been campaigning for traffik-free chocolate since 2006.
But what does traffik-free mean and how do we get there?
More than 90% of cocoa consumed in Europe is sourced from West Africa. Here, the average income of a cocoa farmer is far below the level of absolute poverty. Recent figures state more than half of the children living in cocoa-growing areas work on cocoa farms rather than being in school. The Cote d’Ivoire is one of the biggest producers of cocoa and here thousands of children as young as ten are trafficked to harvest the beans on cocoa farms in this area .
We believe large global chocolate companies such as Mondelēz or Nestlé should use their power and influence to address the key issues in the cocoa supply chain that lead to children being trafficked. We’ve outlined six key steps that we think are necessary for chocolate companies to take to create chocolate free from child trafficking.
Our Chocolate Box is a visual representation of these six steps.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to focus on the different steps in the Chocolate Box, starting this week with certification. The three steps of certification we want to see chocolate companies meet are:
- Public deadline for certification of entire range of cocoa products – we want companies to make realistic yet ambitious plans to certify their chocolate. Ideally this includes deadlines with milestones and tonnages demonstrating a serious commitment to change. The public element is important as this means they are accountable to their consumers to deliver.
- At least one product or range certified– this shows us that they are moving in the right direction. This doesn’t necessarily come after Step 1 as some companies are very reticent about sharing their plans.
- 100% of cocoa products certified– This is where we do a happy dance before continuing to ask them to deliver on the next 3 steps. So far only Nestle Australia has committed to 100% certified chocolate.
We put emphasis on certification because it is a big step towards ensuring better conditions for workers, including reducing the risk of child trafficking. The certification marks that we support are Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ Certified. These different certifiers have their own strengths and weaknesses but they all address labour and workers’ rights, including the issue of child labour, in their auditing process. Certification also aims to provide transparency, so that the supply chain can be linked back to where the cocoa was grown. This increases the accountability of chocolate companies to track where and how their cocoa was grown.
If you want to help end trafficking in chocolate the best first step you can do is change your choices. Buying certified chocolate shows chocolate companies that you care where you’re chocolate has come from and you support initiatives that look to address human trafficking in supply chains as well as other issues. Without consumer pressure very few of the top 5 global chocolate companies would have made the commitments they have made to date.
However, certification is no silver bullet.
It is pretty much impossible to guarantee that trafficking doesn’t happen on farms that provide certified cocoa beans. The mark doesn’t enable around the clock monitoring. But, it doesn’t provide a system whereby if infringements are discovered there is a process for dealing with them. We believe that on-going impact assessment and public reporting would also provide more details on the effect of certification on reducing child trafficking in cocoa.
Although, even if all cocoa products were certified, we still think other measures are important in creating an industry where the risks of trafficking are really minimal. For more info look out for our future chocolate focused blogs which will cover the other steps in the Chocolate Box.
Join our latest chocolate campaign and sign a traffik-free Toblerone postcard! We’re asking Mondelēz to take action and tell as when they will certify Toblerone as well as the rest of their supply chain. Order a postcard, sign it, stamp it and send it back to us. We will be personally delivering them to Mondelēz on 18th October, Anti-Slavery Day.