It follows calls from NGOs World Vision, Stop the Traffik and Baptist World Aid for Australian companies to source cocoa via third-party verification bodies, such as Fairtrade, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.
The NGOs recently published a report ‘A Matter of Taste – The Impact of Certification Systems’, claiming ethical certification programs are the “most credible assurance against forced, child and trafficked labor”.
However, the NGOs note more than 2m children are currently working as laborers on West African cocoa farms despite the existence of certification.
Advocating against slavery
Head of the confectionery sector at the Australian Industry Group, Tim Piper, said: “Some companies such as Nestlé have already moved to totally certified cocoa in their Australian retail chocolate products, while all other majors have committed to either full certification or sustainability and support in the near term.
“It is in the best interests of both the cocoa growers and their communities and the Australian chocolate industry for us to strongly advocate against slavery and to help create a long-term and successful cocoa growing industry” he said.
Nestlé already manufactures Australian-produced chocolate and beverages using 100% UTZ Certified cocoa.
Ferrero, Lindt and Mars hope to reach 100% ethically sourced cocoa for Australian-made products by 2020.
According to AI Group, Cadbury owner Mondelēz has also pledged all Australian-manufactured goods will use only sustainable cocoa. However, Mondelēz has not committed publicly to a deadline.
Haigh's Chocolates currently uses 80% UTZ Certified cocoa and hopes to reach 100% by 2018.
NGO report findings
The NGO-backed report concludes: “There is not much difference between the certifications when it comes to human trafficking prevention, identification and remediation. Each has excellent codes of practice and policy aligning with United Nations’ Protocols and International Standards.”
The report estimates the average Ivorian cocoa farmer earns $0.50 a day and $0.84 in Ghana. The World Bank revised the international poverty line to $1.90 a day in October last year.