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What is the cocoa and chocolate industry doing to address the issue?


Category: Corporate responsibility

The cocoa and chocolate industry will not be able to end poverty in Africa. However, for nearly a decade, leading companies in the chocolate and cocoa sector, including Barry Callebaut, have supported programs that aim at improving the social conditions of the about 2 million cocoa farmers and their families in cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. As we cannot do this alone we work with governments, donor agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders. Collectively we have spent more than USD 75 million and are supporting more than 40 programs throughout West Africa. We would like to give you an overview of the most important industry programs:

  • International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). Together with other cocoa and chocolate companies, NGOs and the governments of West Africa, we signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol and thereby underscored our commitment to work to eradicate the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sector. A key partner in this effort is the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), a foundation established by industry and civil society under the framework of the protocol. As of the end of 2011, ICI had active programmes in 290 cocoa growing communities, 133 in Côte d’Ivoire and 157 in Ghana, reaching a total population of 689,000 and had conducted child-labour awareness-building for more than 282,000 people in cocoa-growing communities. ICI has supported the construction or rehabilitation of a total of 520 classrooms to accommodate 26,000 schoolchildren, and sponsored the placement of 245 trained teachers in total, ensuring better access to quality education for more than 12,250 children. ICI has also provided 2,783 tables and benches to pupils in Côte d’Ivoire, which benefited more than 5,500 school pupils.
  • World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). As a member of the World Cocoa Foundation, Barry Callebaut helps fund efforts to ensure cocoa sustainability worldwide through partnership-driven programs focused on training for farmers and communities and applied scientific research. Through the WCF, Barry Callebaut also helps fund the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP).

In addition to these programs, Barry Callebaut joint another major initiative in 2009:

  • Cocoa Livelihoods Program. Barry Callebaut has joined with the World Cocoa Foundation, other industry members and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the livelihoods of approximately 200,000 cocoa farming households in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Liberia. The USD 40 million, five-year Cocoa Livelihoods Program, launched in February 2009, focuses on enhancing farmer knowledge and competitiveness, improving farmer productivity and quality, promoting crop diversification and improving supply chain efficiencies. On-the-ground program activities began in late 2009 and early 2010.