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World's major chocolate companies call for EU-wide human rights and environmental due diligence regulation

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Article
31 December 2019

Chocolate companies ask for a taste of government regulation

Author: Peter Whoriskey, The Washington Post

Some of the world’s largest chocolate companies are acknowledging widespread child labor on cocoa farms and calling for regulations to discourage the practice, particularly in West Africa, the source of most of the global supply.

The announcement marks a significant departure from previous attempts to eradicate child labor that relied on voluntary measures, not legislation.

The companies’ statement also acknowledged that cocoa is a “major driver” of deforestation, an environmental abuse linked to global warming...

Critically, the companies called for the European Union, where most cocoa is imported, to pass legislation that would require companies to be responsible for guarding against human rights violations and environmental abuses in their cocoa supply chains...

Officials with Nestlé and Hershey told The Washington Post they also support the proposed “due diligence” regulation, and Hershey said the company supports similar legislation in the United States...

Fairtrade, the Rainforest Alliance or Utz [...] were supposed to inspect farms for use of child labor and harmful environmental practices.

But as a Post report in October showed, the inspections by Utz, which certified more cocoa than any other group, were spotty at best...

In response, officials with Utz, now merged with Rainforest Alliance, said the organization is taking steps to improve oversight in West Africa...

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Article
2 December 2019

Cocoa companies call for EU-wide human rights and environmental due diligence requirements

Author: Barry Callebaut AG, Mars Wrigley and Mondelēz International, The VOICE Network, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade

We, a group of companies (Barry Callebaut AG, Mars Wrigley and Mondelēz International), The VOICE Network, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade, call on the European Union, by far the largest importer and consumer of cocoa in the world, to strengthen human rights and environmental due diligence requirements of companies in global cocoa supply chains, aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

We strongly believe that we all need to take action together to effectively address some of the systemic human rights and environmental challenges in the cocoa supply chain. National governments must enforce and strengthen their own labour, child protection and environmental laws, and companies have a responsibility to conduct due diligence to identify risk, jointly evaluate remediation and take action which is proportionate to their exposure to the human rights and environmental risk.

Therefore, we think an EU-wide approach to due diligence will benefit all actors in the supply chain in terms of a clear and consistent set of rules and common intent.

The EU should:

  • Aim to negotiate bilateral agreements with cocoa origin governments...
  • Establish a regulatory and policy framework within the EU to ensure that companies conduct human rights and environmental due diligence in their supply chains...

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Article
2 December 2019

Large manufacturers and stakeholders call for EU-wide due diligence approach to regulate cocoa sector

Author: Natasha Foote, EURACTIV

"EU-wide approach to due diligence needed to regulate cacao sector, manufacturers and NGOs say"

...The manufacturers, including the likes of Barry Callebaut AG, Mars Wrigley and Mondelēz International, have teamed up with the Rainforest Alliance, the VOICE network and Fairtrade to create a joint position paper on the EU’s policy and regulatory approach to cocoa... [T]he group ask specifically for an EU-wide approach to due diligence, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), which they say will “benefit all actors in the supply chain in terms of a clear and consistent set of rules and common intent”...

Although some progress has been made through a number of initiatives... these have often failed to adequately involve all actors in the supply chain.

Chocolate companies still have “a huge amount of work to do” in implementing truly sustainable policies, with some doing much better than others, the Washington-based NGO Mighty Earth concluded in a consumer guide ranking chocolate producers...

Julia Christian, forest policy adviser at Fern... said that “companies are known more for opposing laws which regulate their activities than for promoting them. So today’s statement by some of the world’s biggest chocolate companies... is commendable and a watershed moment”...

MEP Heidi Hautala, vice president of the European Parliament, said the EU “has a clear responsibility to ensure that cocoa entering the EU market does not make consumers complicit in child labour and deforestation”...

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