Eradicate child labor

Cacao Barry actively partnering to eradicate Child Labor by 2025

Cacao Barry actively partnering to eradicate Child Labor by 2025. 

Through our collective commitment to the Cocoa Horizon Foundation, we are making a real difference in improving the life of farmers, eradicating child labor and bringing us closer each day to our goal of achieving a positive impact on deforestation and our carbon footprint by 2025.

Cacao Barry’s position and belief is that any form of child labor has no place in our supply chain. We strongly condemn forced labor, slavery and all practices that exploit both adults and children or expose them to harmful or hazardous conditions. Child labor, which according to the International Labour Organization is widespread in African agriculture, occurs largely on family farms and is defined as children doing work when too young or work that endangers them (1). By contrast, the lawsuit brought forward by International Rights Advocates in the US against Barry Callebaut and other major chocolate companies, concerns the rare (2) practice of trafficking children to work on farms, which the Ivorian and Ghanaian governments, together with the cocoa industry, are actively combating. The lawsuit’s allegations about Barry Callebaut are without merit. No instances of forced labor have been found in our Cacao Barry supply chain. This response aims to support our customers in understanding our position on child labor, our actions taken to eradicate all forms of child labor and the complexity of the issues, so that we can together overcome them

Child slavery, child labor, hazardous work - What is the difference? 

As the World Cocoa Foundation clearly explained on their website, “the term “child labor” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development (3). It refers to work that:

  • is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or
  • interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work (...)

ILO Forced labor Convention, 1930 (No. 29) defines forced labor as “work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”. When calculating prevalence, children are considered to be in forced labor if:

  • they are working for a third party (other than their parents), under threat of any penalty applied by the third party, either on the children directly, or on their parents
  • they are working for or with their parents, who are in forced labor, or
  • they are in a worst form of child labor other than hazardous work (a), b), and c), from Convention No. 182, above)

These definitions matter because if we assume the main problem is child slavery, when in reality the huge majority of children are working within their families, driven by poverty, we will miss the mark.

Why is child labor still happening?

Child labor in cocoa growing regions remains indeed a complex and multifaceted issue throughout the world, despite major efforts by governments, cocoa and chocolate companies, cocoa-growing communities, and development partners. The challenges facing children in cocoa-growing communities are rooted in interrelated, structural issues such as poverty and lack of access to essential services, including quality education, health care, drinking water and sanitation facilities.

How do we eradicate child labor?

Cacao Barry has committed to eradicate child labor from its supply chain by 2025 supporting the Cocoa Horizons Foundation and collaborating with local actors. Every year the COH Foundation publishes the progress against this target. For a detailed description of Cacao Barry’s approach and goals, please see our sustainability commitment. And all the actions taken by the COH Foundation can be found on their website. Again, no forced child labor has been found in our Cacao Barry supply chain.

What actions are now needed to end child labor? 

Cocoa industry-led commitments which we are a part of, are yielding advances in eliminating and mitigating the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa supply chain, however a collaborative framework based on commitments from public and private stakeholders, combined with a strong legal framework in both cocoa consuming and producing countries, are essential to sustain lasting improvements to this complex problem. 

A structural solution to eradicating child labor is a combination of poverty alleviation, access to quality education and awareness raising. We are working on all three levers, by partnering with the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, investing in improving the productivity of cocoa farmers, helping to increase their income, supporting children to go to school, sensitizing farmers and their communities on child labor awareness and creating ownership and structures within the communities to tackle the issues that result in child labor.

The Cocoa Horizons program methodology is aligned with guidelines, recommendations and commitments of the industry and of NGOs, such as seen in the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), a multi-stakeholder initiative, including the Ivorian and Ghanaian government, dedicated to end cocoa farming in protected forest areas in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. A key element of the CFI includes the introduction through legislation of 100% traceability of cocoa, creating transparency in the supply chain and its practices.

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Where and how do we source cocoa beans for our chocolates?

We source our cocoa beans from all over the world to protect its biodiversity and offer a wide variety of the best flavours to you. But contrary to other actors who have chosen to leave the African region and turn their backs to this complex reality, we have decided to face the problem head on and be part of the solution: hence maintaining a supply of sustainable cocoa beans in West Africa. We need to have the courage to act where the problem remains in order to solve it.

Because chefs and farmers are at the heart of the fight to ensure sustainable cocoa farming that respects both the environment and individuals, we have partnered since October 1st 2020 to fully support the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, having 100% of our cocoa beans sustainably sourced, creating real impact with our actions in the field.

Made with 100% traceable and sustainable West Africa cocoa beans, our Pureté range which bold flavours are exalted by the advanced Q-fermentation process, is the direct proof of this commitment on the ground. All participating farmers are selected and trained in the best agricultural practices and apply the unique care necessary to obtain intense and bold flavours. As part of the Q-FermentationTM process, farmers select natural ferments and add them to the pulp of the cocoa beans, creating a strong, homogeneous fermentation which in turn yields higher quality cocoa beans and significantly higher revenues for the farmers.

From healthy soil and tree management techniques to harvesting and Q-fermentationTM implementation, to higher family income: it is all part of Cacao Barry’s commitment to sustainability through the Cocoa Horizons Foundation,  and our continuous commitment to Thriving Nature.