If Australian chocolate companies paid a small levy of 2 cents in every $10 of chocolate sales, exploitative child and trafficked labour in the cocoa industry could be abolished, says a new report released today by World Vision.
“The money raised from the levy is needed to combat child and trafficked
labour and train cocoa farmers in sustainable practices,” World Vision
CEO Tim Costello said.
“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.
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
The report, Our guilty pleasure: exploitative child labour in the chocolate industry
, recommends that the chocolate industry adopt a ‘sustainability levy’ on cocoa that will amount to about 0.2 percent of global chocolate sales. In 2009 chocolate sales amounted to approximately $100 billion.
Evidence listed in the report shows that child labour and, more disturbingly, the worst forms of child and trafficked labour are still rife in cocoa production in West Africa.
In 2001, an agreement called the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed between big chocolate companies, the United States and the Ivory Coast to eliminate the worst forms of child labour from their cocoa supply chains.
The report suggests this agreement has failed and has been abandoned by many in the industry in preference for other solutions like purchasing cocoa through ethical certification schemes such as Fairtrade and UTZ Certified.
World Vision recognises that some of the big chocolate companies have committed to phasing in the use of ethically certified cocoa, with Cadbury offering one Fairtrade Certified Easter egg for the first time this year. Ethical cocoa is cocoa that is independently certified to have been harvested without the use of forced, child or trafficked labour.
“Our report shows only 1-3 percent of global cocoa supply is ethically certified today. Despite the best projections for growth in ethical cocoa, it’s expected 60-75 percent globally will still be uncertified in 2018,” Rev Costello 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.
“In addition to ethically certifying their cocoa, big chocolate companies need 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.”
Article originally published on 27 April 2011