Embode has advised Mondelēz International to address the root causes of child labor in cocoa-farming communities in order to address the bigger picture and foster the well-being of children.
As part of the company’s continued efforts to empower cocoa-farming communities through its Cocoa Life program, Mondelēz International recently commissioned two independent assessments of child protection in the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. These two assessments were recently published by Embode, a human rights consultancy.
As a part of the assessments, Embode evaluated conditions in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2015 and analyzed the environment and national child protection infrastructure.
The reports commend Cocoa Life’s holistic approach and direct work with cocoa communities in its supply chain. Embode recognizes Cocoa Life’s potential to drive meaningful change at scale by tackling the root causes of child labor, and recommends that Mondelēz International build on its existing approach to strengthen cocoa communities’ capacity to foster the well-being of children.
“We value Embode’s insights and plan to implement the recommendations for our Cocoa Life program,” said Cathy Pieters, director of Cocoa Life. “We’ll consult with our program partners and government authorities to strengthen existing child protection structures, improve access to education and continue to address root causes like poverty in Cocoa Life communities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.”
Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, said: “Embode’s reports are a significant step forward for transparency and offer new thinking on ways to address the root causes of child labor in cocoa farming. Further engaging with other businesses through existing non-competitive platforms within the cocoa sector to address these issues will be crucial to help deliver wider impact.”
For both countries, Embode’s recommendations to Cocoa Life include:
- Developing and implementing a child protection policy and code, which would explicitly require the reporting and referral of child protection cases, including child labor and child slavery
- Taking more initiatives aimed at improving children’s access to education
- Reviewing targets and indicators to measure progress on children’s well-being
- Working alongside communities with a “system-strengthening” approach to ensure sustainability of outcomes over the long term
- Working in closer partnership with local and national authorities to align and contribute to governments’ strategies for cocoa sustainability and child well-being
- Engaging proactively with the cocoa sector to share Cocoa Life’s distinct approach to cocoa sustainability