World Vision Appeals to Biscuit Company Over Child Labour
30 March 2010 at 11:41 am
In the lead up to Easter, World Vision Australia has met with Aussie icon Arnott’s to discuss the issue of child labour.
World Vision says it has urged the manufacturer to commit to producing its chocolate-based products, like the much-loved Tim Tam biscuit, with cocoa produced without the use of child labour.
At the meeting, Arnott’s General Manager said child labour in the cocoa fields of West Africa was an issue Arnott’s was taking seriously. The manufacturer said within six months it would have a proposal for how they would source ethical cocoa.
World Vision Australia’s CEO Tim Costello says every Australian loves Tim Tams and Mint Slices, but Australians want to know the chocolate in these biscuits has been produced ethically.
Costello is calling on Arnott’s to demonstrate that it is not indirectly supporting the worst forms of child labour.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, approximately 75 percent of the world’s cocoa is sourced from West Africa.
A report published by the US Department of State indicated that there are at least 100,000 child labourers in the Ivory Coast alone. Some of these children are kidnapped from neighbouring countries and sold into slavery or lured with false promises of paid work.
Costello says the widespread use of exploitative child labour and trafficked labour in the West African cocoa industry is well-known.
As CEO of World Vision he has visited West Africa, including the Ivory Coast, and has seen the worst forms of child labour first-hand.
He says last August, Interpol rescued 54 child slaves from the cocoa fields of the Ivory Coast. These children were unpaid, forced to carry massive loads and were of seven different nationalities, indicating that they had been trafficked from neighbouring countries.
He urged Australians to contact their favourite chocolate manufacturer and ask them to commit to buying cocoa that is independently and ethically certified.
Ethical certification, like the Fairtrade label, aims to ensure products meet agreed environmental, labour and developmental standards. Fairtrade certification also allows Australian consumers to easily identify ethical products.
Costello says Cadbury and Green & Blacks recently agreed to clean up their cocoa supply chains, and Cadbury has just released its first Fairtrade certified product line in time for Easter.
World Vision Australia’s Don’t Trade Lives campaign is calling on the global chocolate industry to guarantee farmers a fair price for their cocoa and to eliminate all exploited labour from cocoa production by 2018.
For more information visit www.worldvision.com.au.