A darker side of chocolate.
Understanding human trafficking risks in the chocolate supply chain: We have a choice.
The day after the FINANCE AGAINST TRAFFICKING Conference, a report into the link between human trafficking and chocolate has been published. Check out the blog below, written by former FINANCE AGAINST TRAFFICKING intern, Anisah Kee-Scot:
If you often feel guilty when treating yourself to a bar of chocolate, your conscience will surely be awakened after reading STOP THE TRAFFIK’s latest publication. This report opens your eyes to dark reality of human trafficking in the cocoa industry. STOP THE TRAFFIK have teamed up with legal intelligence provider LexisNexis® to develop a comprehensive report on how trafficking is facilitated throughout the chocolate industry on a global scale and how this is covered in the English media. Just as the headline states, businesses and consumers alike have the choice to create change, based on the decisions they make through procurement and purchasing.
STOP THE TRAFFIK’s CEO, Ruth Dearnley reiterates this:
‘Every decision that business makes, matters. Good business decisions can change the lives of many, many people. At STOP THE TRAFFIK we believe in the power of people making good choices in what they buy, being a critical part of that change. Every time we buy chocolate, our choice matters.’
The decision to make a positive change within the chocolate industry is one that should be held with high regard, because it benefits both the consumer and more importantly, those who work laboriously to make your chocolate.
As outlined in the publication, the global chocolate industry is estimated at approximately $10 billion USD, with the cocoa production for West Africa generating $13 billion USD in 2012 . With such large revenue, there is no excuse for this multi-billion sector to remain apathetic towards the issue of human trafficking and human rights abuses. In fact, it is a responsibility which should be accepted whole-heartedly.
Several well-known international chocolate manufacturers have taken the lead to monitor their supply chains and create initiatives to eradicate trafficking, for example Nestlé have hired the Fair Labour Association to look out for child labour in its supply chain in Cote d’Ivoire and were successful in discovering 11 breaches of Nestlé’s labour code. Notably, big brands such as Nestlé and Green and Blacks have been trendsetters in the traffik-free chocolate movement.
But a trend it is not. Human trafficking is an issue which requires a sustainable and viable solution…
This is precisely why FINANCE AGAINST TRAFFICKING continues to collaborate with local business owners and members of the corporate world to develop comprehensive resolutions. Be it through offering training to staff to identify signs of human trafficking, or auditing their supply chain, there are various ways for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. Business members from various sectors, from law to the financial sector, are already active in working with us to clamp down on human trafficking.
With such a wide-scale response from consumers and international media documented in this publication, there is clearly a strong movement behind certified chocolate and the prevention of human rights abuses at the supply chain level. But how do we ensure that the ‘certification’ stamp is being rightfully administered?
Looking at STOP THE TRAFFIK’s chocolate box will give you an overview of the criteria that needs to be met in order for cocoa companies to receive ‘certified’ approval. For example, questions should be asked such as: Is there a third party certification on 100% of their chocolate range? Is there a public deadline to certify the entire range of cocoa? And how effective is their fair-trade programme overall?
The STOP THE TRAFFIK and Lexis report is extensive, with an informative collection of English media sources compiled from the LexisNexis® Human Trafficking Awareness Index™. It will permit you to gain a clearer understanding of the scale of trafficking within the cocoa industry, and also offers insight into how this issue can be eradicated.
Check out the report written by STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Jantine Werdmüller von Elgg, and you will soon discover it isn’t the calories you should be keeping a watchful eye on…