Ivory Coast: 20 years after child labour pledge, chocolate companies still cannot guarantee products made without child labour

Author: Peter Whoriskey & Rachel Siegel, The Washington Post, Published on: 10 June 2019

"Cocoa's child laborers", 5 June 2019

The world’s chocolate companies have missed deadlines to uproot child labor from their cocoa supply chains in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Next year, they face another target date and, industry officials indicate, they probably will miss that, too...

When asked this spring, representatives of some of the biggest and best-known brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestlé — could not guarantee that any of their chocolates were produced without child labor...

 One reason is that nearly 20 years after pledging to eradicate child labor, chocolate companies still cannot identify the farms where all their cocoa comes from, let alone whether child labor was used in producing it...

In statements...Hershey, Mars and Nestlé... said they had taken steps to reduce their reliance on child labor...

Other companies that were not signatories, such as Mondelez and Godiva, also have taken such steps, but likewise would not guarantee that any of their products were free of child labor.

 Their most prominent effort — buying cocoa that has been “certified” for ethical business practices by third-party groups...has been weakened by a lack of rigorous enforcement of child labor rules... 

...After missing the 2010 deadline, the industry established a less ambitious goal — to get a 70 percent reduction in child labor...by 2020. That goal, too, is unlikely to be met, the industry has indicated, and there is still no plan for consumer labels...

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Related companies: Hershey Mars Nestlé