Press release

ILO and chocolate and cocoa industry forge new partnership to combat child labour in West Africa

Eight companies in the chocolate and cocoa industry – ADM, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ferrero, The Hershey Company, Kraft Foods, Mars, Incorporated, and Nestlé – have pledged US $2 million to a new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the International Labour Office (ILO) to combat child labour in cocoa growing communities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

Press release | 12 September 2011

GENEVA (ILO News) – Eight companies in the chocolate and cocoa industry – ADM, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ferrero, The Hershey Company, Kraft Foods, Mars, Incorporated, and Nestlé – have pledged US $2 million to a new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the International Labour Office (ILO) to combat child labour in cocoa growing communities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

Since the signing of the Harkin-Engel Protocol in 2001, particular attention has been paid towards the elimination of the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa supply chain in West Africa. Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are the world’s largest cocoa producers, accounting for 60 per cent of global production. In both countries, unacceptable labour practices on cocoa farms mean large numbers of children are performing hazardous farming tasks or working at the expense of attending school.

Child labour’s multiple causes are to be found above all in household poverty and limited access to education. Activities funded under this PPP will complement other projects of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) underway in both countries.

“This historic agreement builds on our clear understanding of the global challenge of child labour in agriculture, where 60 per cent of child labourers, or roughly 132 million children, continue to work. We hope this project will help improve understanding of how to combat child labour in smallholder farming communities and to upscale those efforts”, said IPEC Director Constance Thomas.

The US $2 million contribution will support IPEC’s work during the next four years in three key areas: strengthening the capacity of governments, social partners and cocoa farmers to combat the worst forms of child labour in cocoa growing communities; supporting the development and extension of community-based child labour monitoring systems; and enhancing the coordination role of tripartite national child labour steering committees to those ends.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with IPEC to strengthen child labour monitoring systems in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Expansion and refinement of these important tools are critical next steps in helping cocoa communities take action on behalf of their own children,” said Ron Graf, chair of the industry coalition.

For further information please contact the ILO’s Partnerships and Development Cooperation Department: Tel: +4122/799-7309 Email: PARDEV@ilo.org. or for the industry: Joanna Scott Tel: +447879/486-070 Email: Joanna.scott@cocoafarming.org.uk