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Do any certification scheme guarantee 'child labor-free' cocoa or chocolate?

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Category: Corporate responsibility

No. While third-party certification inspectors will check if certain labor standards and working practices are being followed on select farms and report what is observed at a given time, they do not make declarations such as "child labor-free" with respect to the beans. It is virtually impossible for a third-party to provide a 100% guarantee that no child labor was used in the harvesting, fermentation or drying of a sack of cocoa beans. Further, it is important to distinguish between children helping out on the family farm, as is part of the rural agricultural tradition in cocoa producing countries, and inappropriate or dangerous work for children, work that prevents children from going to school, and any kind of forced labor or trafficking.

Furthermore, we should recognize that certified cocoa and chocolate products are a niche market making up 3-4% of global chocolate sales. Therefore, we must concentrate our efforts on making sure that the mass cocoa and chocolate market is also based on increased sustainability.


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