The 12th June was World Child Labour Day. Edward Millard, Director Sustainable Landscapes at the Rainforest Alliance talks about how the Rainforest Alliance works to prevent child labour on farms every day.
For the last ten years, public concern about children working illegally or being forced to do unsafe work has been closely linked to the chocolate industry. Since evidence of children being exploited in cocoa farms first reached mainstream media across the globe in 2000, consumers, politicians and activist groups have been asking the large companies what they are doing to ensure that child labour is not present in their supply chains.
In UK the issue has remained largely outside the political domain. By contrast, in the USA, two politicians, Congressman Eliot Engel and Senator Tom Harkin took an initiative to commit the industry to ensure that its chocolate was free of child labour. The resulting Harkin-Engel Protocol triggered a series of initiatives to address the problem, including forming an independent organization for education and monitoring, the International Cocoa Initiative, ICI (www.cocoainitiative.org), to which the industry gave funding support. The focus of ICI’s work has been Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s two largest suppliers of cocoa beans. Both governments passed laws and committed resources to support the effort to build awareness in communities of the need for children to attend school. Read the rest of this entry ?