Tony’s Chocolonely brand claims notable progress tackling child labour

Tony’s Chocolonely, the ethically-founded Dutch chocolate brand, has revealed its latest impact research it claims has made a significant difference tackling child labour in its cocoa supply chains, reports Neill Barston.

The company has marked the 10th anniversary of its Fair Report, examining the impact that the business has had during the past decade, as it works with co-operative farming groups in Ivory Coast on the basis of trying to deliver a higher, living wage for agricultural workers.

According to its latest analysis, the business, which recently took part in our World Confectionery Conference said that since introducing Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in 2017, endemic child labour levels in its sourcing partners have decreased from 50 per cent to a total of five per cent.

As the business notes, the longer it has worked with partner co-ops and farmers, the lower the rate of child labour – with the company noting that in its long-term local partner groups, the percentage of children in child labor was 4.4% in the past year.

However, its results found that within its two newer partner co-ops, the percentage of children in child labor was 52.8% in the past year, which it said reflected an ‘alarming industry-wide average.’ The company confirmed that all cases of child labour are now in the process of being fully remediated and closed, which it said is now happening at an accelerated rate of between 9-12 months.

In its sourcing, the company said that it gained 14,002 metric tons of 100% traceable cocoa beans in the past year – equating to 14,002,000 kg or 350 humpback whales or 2 million disco balls.

Consequently, a total of 14,763 cocoa farmers were positively impacted last year, up from 5,833 more than the year before, who were paid at a total of 61% more than the national price set by the Ivory Coast government, and 22% more than prices in Ghana.

As a result, the company, which sources segregated beans from major group Barry Callebaut explained that it has grown by 21% over the past year and invested €8,233,158 – (6.2% of revenue) into impact initiatives.

Last year Ben & Jerry’s, The Flower Farm and PLUS Supermarkets became the latest Mission Allies to join Tony’s Open Chain initiative. They join Albert Heijn, ALDI, Jokolade, Vly Foods, making a total of eight Mission Allies committed to making all chocolate ‘100% slave free.’

As the company acknowledged, its activities remain a small part of the market, reaching around 0.5% of the West African cocoa market, which it hopes to scale up through gaining more partners in its mission, as well as increasing its rates of chocolate production.

Its latest report comes as the business – which has come under the microscope for its decision to source from a major confectionery group, confirmed that it increased the price it pays for cocoa by 82% in Ivory Coast and 77% in Ghana (which has retained a slightly higher value to its cocoa), in line with inflation.

Consequently, the firm has called on other companies to pay an enhanced price to in addition to Fairtrade premiums, which it believed would help assist farmers from being pushed further into poverty, which consequently continues the spiral of child labour issues experienced in the region.




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