A group of civil society organisations is calling on the EU to pass legislation to end human rights violations and environmental destruction in cocoa supply chains.
The NGOs joined forces ahead of a European Parliament session ‘Cocoa and Coffee – devastating rainforests and driving child labour: the role of EU consumption and how the EU could help,’ which was held on 11 July 2018.
“Cocoa has been driving 30% of overall deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and destroying other forests from Asia to the Amazon,” declared Etelle Higonnet of Mighty Earth.
Sergi Corbalán of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office said cocoa must be good for people as well as planet. “Child labour is a consequence of poverty. Better prices must be paid to cocoa farmers to enable them to secure a living income,” he said.
Core challenges will require legislation in both producing and consuming countries, said the NGOs.
“The EU must rise to the challenge, as Europe is the number one importer, manufacturer, and consumer of chocolate worldwide – and home to the biggest chocolate companies,” said Julia Christian of Fern.
The NGO coalition called on the EU to make mandatory compliance with Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) standards. HRDD would require chocolate companies to analyse, prevent, mitigate, remediate and report on risks in their supply chain, not only for their own operations, but also for those of their suppliers.
It would also require mandatory reporting on key measures, such as responsible risk management (on child labour, this would mean reporting on cases and on measures taken to address them).
Future reporting should be based on standard, common definitions, the NGOs said, which requires harmonisation of legislation across different jurisdictions and markets to avoid a regulatory fragmentation.
“To end deforestation for cocoa we also call on EU to urgently develop import regulations that require companies and importers of cocoa to undertake responsible sourcing and proper due diligence to ensure that the cocoa they are importing is not coming from illegally cleared forests,” said Obed Owusu-Addai of EcoCare Ghana.