By 2025 we will eradicate child labor¹ from our supply chain.
The existence of the worst forms of child labor is an indication that the cocoa supply chain in West Africa is not prospering, nor self sustaining. Systemic change in cocoa farming will reduce poverty and therefore reduce the incidence of the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa supply chain. But systemic change in cocoa farming alone is not enough. We are rolling out child labor monitoring and remediation systems, prioritizing those cocoa farming communities at highest risk. In addition, eliminating child labor requires systemic change in the farming communities through awareness of the consequences of the worst forms of child labor for a child’s development, education, and quality access to primary, secondary and vocational education. This is why we include child labor awareness in the training we offer to cocoa farmers. In fiscal year 2017/18 we trained 105,406 farmers on child labor awareness.
Access to quality education and awareness of children’s rights also need to be addressed. Through partnerships with a number of our customers, we are supporting the construction of schools in cocoa farming communities.
The worst forms of child labor are not limited to cocoa, but also occur in the value chains of other chocolate ingredients. We therefore created a heat map to identify commodities and origins that are at risk of including the worst forms of child labor in their supply chain. We prioritized our efforts to focus on commodities at high risk, such as cane sugar and palm oil, working with our suppliers to eradicate the worst forms of child labor.
Creating the movement
The letters of intent we signed with the Ivorian and Ghanaian governments on sustainable cocoa farming spell out a commitment to increased cooperation on the eradication of the worst forms of child labor. This includes working together on community led initiatives to eradicate child labor and support women cocoa farmers, as well as young cocoa farmers. In addition, through the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), we are actively working together with governments to prepare for a survey in 2019 on the continued prevalence of the worst forms of child labor in the African cocoa supply chain.
Our measured impact
With the support of ICI, we continue to implement monitoring and remediation systems on child labor. This constitutes on the ground, household and farm visits by our staff to survey practices concerning child employment and education in cocoa farming communities. These surveys then allow to identify children performing hazardous tasks and to estimate the prevalence of the worst forms of child labor. In 2017/18, we deployed monitoring and remediation in 21 farmer groups covering 12,018 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. We established that in 2017/18 12% (2016/17: 3.2%) of the farmer groups we directly sourced from have systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor. The monitoring uncovered 4,230 cases of the worst forms of child labor, in all cases children working on their family’s farm. This increase is the result of the coverage of a broader range of farmer groups. As we roll out remediation and monitoring systems, additional cases of the worst forms of child labor are expected to be found. All the cases of worst forms of child labor we found are being remediated.
In order to ensure that there are no worst forms of child labor present in any of the other ingredients we are sourcing for our products, we have updated our supplier code to incentivize suppliers of non-cocoa ingredients to have systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor.
1According to the International Labour Organization, not all work done by children should be classified as child labor that is to be targeted for elimination. The term ‘child labor’ is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, interferes with their schooling and is harmful to their physical and mental development. Activities such as carrying heavy loads or using chemicals are considered as ‘unacceptable forms of child labor’ because they are physically dangerous for children.
Number of child labor cases identified and remediated in our supply chain
of the farmer groups we directly source from that have systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor
% of third party suppliers who have equivalent systems in place
Our commitments to the UN SDGs
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consist of 17 goals to transform our world. We have selected for each of our targets the corresponding SDG to highlight how Forever Chocolate fits into the global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.
Zeroing in on our approach to child labor
By 2025, Barry Callebaut has committed to eradicating child labor from its supply chain. We ask Andres Tschannen, Partnerships Lead at Barry Callebaut, about the issues of child labor in the cocoa supply chain and how we are progressing in our efforts.
New Horizons for cocoa
Eradicating child labor is a challenge that the entire cocoa industry has been working toward for more than a decade. However, the reality is that instances still persist, which makes it crucial to test new approaches and combine tactics in order to have an impact.
The Cocoa Horizons Foundation is focusing on a child centric approach to drive community involvement, and coupling this with monitoring and remediation activities.
Eradicating child labor: move from remediation to prevention
The Jacobs Foundation is devoted to promoting child and youth development all over the world. We met up with Fabio Segura, Head of International Programs of the Jacobs Foundation, to discuss how their actions are supporting the eradication of child labor.