Last Updated: May 30, 2012Topic: Responsible Labor Practices in Cocoa Growing
The U.S. chocolate and cocoa industry seeks to ensure cocoa is grown in a responsible, sustainable manner.
NCA, as well as the entire global chocolate community, believes that no child should be harmed in the growing or harvesting of cocoa. In West Africa, 90% of cocoa is grown on small family farms. In Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana there are over 1.5 million cocoa farming families living in some of the most remote parts of these countries who depend on cocoa for their livelihood.
Working with labor experts, non-governmental organizations, and elected officials, in 2001 the chocolate and cocoa industry developed an agreement, known today as the “Protocol,” to ensure that cocoa is grown responsibly, without the worst forms of child labor or forced adult labor as defined by the International Labor Organization’s Conventions 182 and 29.
The Protocol outlined a number of steps to address the issue – including the development of a “certification” system for cocoa farming. Certification for cocoa farming is an ongoing program that will drive positive change in cocoa communities with a focus on repsonsible labor practices.
Industry supported programs in the West African cocoa farming sector focus on three key areas:
2. Working to make life better on cocoa farms by raising farmer incomes, improving education and health and unsafe working conditions through initiatives including Farmer Field schools and other educational and health related-programs programs funded by the World Cocoa Foundation (www.worldcocoa.org)
3. The development of a certification system for smallholder agricultural production in West Africa is being undertaken by our industry together with the governments of the cocoa producing countries.
Chocolate and cocoa companies worldwide are committed to investment and improvement in cocoa communities around the world. Collectively the global chocolate and cocoa industry has spent more than 75 million dollars over the past decade. Currently we are supporting some 40 social and economic programs in West Africa that improve the lives of cocoa farming families and communities. By the end of 2010, more than three million direct and indirect beneficiaries will have benefited from these programs, including hundreds of thousands of cocoa farming families and more than one million children.
In September 2010 a new partnership was formed between the global industry, the United States Department of Labor, Senator Harkin and Congressman Engel, and the governments of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. The partnership places an emphasis on actions that foster safe, healthy and productive environments for children and families through addressing hazardous labor practices, improving the livelihoods of farming families and providing acccess to quality education.
Contact Susan Smith.