Global ingredients business Cargill has partnered with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to expand their action on child labour in Cote d’Ivoire.
The two organisations initially began working together in 2002, and are now establishing a monitoring system in Cargill’s cocoa supply chain to identify and protect children.
They have devised the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), which will enable Cargill to go a step further in its efforts to eradicate child labour and is based on best practices developed by ICI.
The system will be embedded in the monitoring and evaluation program for the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company’s responsible and sustainable cocoa program, and will be piloted this year in eight farmer cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire reaching nearly 7,000 cocoa farming households. It will help Cargill identify and understand incidences of child labour so that appropriate remediation activities can be undertaken.
“At Cargill, we recognise that we cannot tackle child labour in cocoa-farming communities on our own. Working alongside technical experts like the ICI helps us learn how to take a labour-monitoring system to scale in a complex, smallholder agricultural supply chain,” said Taco Terheijden, sustainability director of Cargill cocoa & chocolate.
“Cooperatives have proven to be one of the most efficient and effective means to reach cocoa farmers, reduce poverty and impact their livelihoods. Working together with ICI and the cooperatives on establishing CLMRS is a crucial next step in the important journey to both understand and eradicate child labour from our cocoa supply chains.”
Last September, ICI started training Cargill’s network of “lead farmers”, a group of reliable and influential members of farmers’ cooperatives working with the company, to serve as child labour agents and lead interventions that help children escape child labour.
The company explained that as trusted members of the community and cocoa farmers themselves, these lead farmers have been trained by ICI to conduct regular household interviews, collect and share relevant socio-economic data via mobile technology and to provide education on the dangers of child labour. By providing technical guidance on all aspects of the system, ICI is building the capacity of Cargill to manage the system on its own, and to be able to fully integrate it into its core business.
"We have developed a system that goes wide and deep in tackling child labour in cocoa,” said Nick Weatherill, ICI’s executive director. “The more companies that adopt the principle of CLMRS into their supply chains, the better our chances to achieve a step change in child protection and cocoa sustainability. We are glad to partner with Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate on this very important endeavour. “After more than 10 years of working together, we are now embarking on an even closer partnership and a journey to improve the lives of children in cocoa-growing communities.”
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