On 11 July 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and the Subcommittee on Human Rights held a joint hearing on cocoa and coffee entitled ‘Cocoa and Coffee – devastating rainforest and driving child labour: the role of EU consumption, and how the EU could help ‘.
The European Union is a top importer of cocoa, and a majority of the speakers pledged for firmer actions to be taken to tackle child labour and forest degradation in its supply chain.
‘We, Europeans – as major consumers of cocoa and chocolate – we have a responsibility in how the supply chains work’, said Linda McAvan, chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development.
ICI Executive Director Nick Weatherill participated in the panel on child labour alongside Ange Aboa, an Ivorian Reuters contributor, Federico Blanco, project coordinator at the ILO, and Remco Vahl, EC expert on trade.
ICI’s intervention was focused on giving a quick overview and trajectory of the problem, the multi-stakeholder nature of ICI, the impact of our preventive and response actions, the supply chain due diligence (CLMRS), CocoaAction scope, and the challenges and opportunities that the CLMRS’ scale up places ahead of us.
ICI Executive Director Nick Weatherill’s presentation at the EP hearing on child labour in cocoa.
There was agreement that although programs and solutions exist and are being implemented by industry, their scope and coverage is not sufficient to eradicate child labour in cocoa farming by 2025, the self-imposed deadline of the ‘Achieve 8.7’-platform.
Voices from several NGOs, UN agencies and EU politicians reaffirmed that the cocoa sector is dealing with a complex problem and that the authorities of the producing countries must be involved, but that voluntary approaches have not yet sufficiently addressed the urgency and scale of the problem.
Mandatory due diligence – for example through the introduction of CLMRS (called ‘probably the best practice we currently have’ by the VOICE network) in all cocoa value chains – could accelerate the fight against child labour.