Cargill continues efforts to protect children in direct cocoa supply chains worldwide
12-05-2020 15:45:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 10999 | Tags:

As part of ongoing efforts to combat child labor in the cocoa sector, Cargill is leveraging existing partnerships to extend the reach of its child labor monitoring and remediation mechanisms (CLMRS).

 In addition to the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), Cargill has launched programs in Ghana and Cameroon, complementing the work already underway in Côte d'Ivoire. Cargill has also launched additional programs with one of its partners, the NGO Save the Children.

 After carrying out an adapted risk assessment, the company sets up a CLMRS locally adapted in Indonesia. In January 2020, a program was also launched in Côte d'Ivoire on training and entrepreneurship for young people at risk in cocoa communities.

These are further milestones in Cargill's journey towards implementing child labor monitoring and remediation approaches in its five direct cocoa supplier countries by 2025. To date, these efforts have reached 58,000 planters in West Africa.

Cargill works with cocoa producer communities to identify, remedy and prevent child labor through community interventions, access to education, training and entrepreneurship initiatives. The company adapts CLMRS to meet the unique needs of each community in order to increase impact.

“Community Well-being is a long-term goal and the fight against child labor is the cornerstone of our vision of a more sustainable cocoa supply chain,” said Taco Terheijden , Director of Cocoa & Chocolate Sustainability , Cargill. “We have to make sure that the solutions we recommend are relevant, appropriate and scalable. Collaboration with NGO partners who have long experience in these countries of origin is the key to ensuring the effectiveness of our efforts and that no child is left behind. ”

Over the past year, Cargill, in collaboration with expert partners in the field, has launched several new initiatives to identify and combat the root causes of child labor in cocoa communities where Cargill sources cocoa directly.

In Cameroon , Cargill has been working since September 2019 with a long-standing partner, ICI, to establish a CLMRS in the country - making it the first cocoa supplier to do so. Supported by a grant from the Dutch government, a pilot program has already reached 4,000 planters, and plans to expand it further by the end of 2020.

“By working directly with agricultural coaches and cooperatives, the pilot program was designed as part of a risk-based approach - monitoring all households and planters in the community against risk indicators such as the presence a local school or the number of children in the household, ” says Matthias Lange, Director of Policy and Programs at the International Cocoa Initiative. “This approach will allow us to identify the communities most at risk of child labor and develop remedial plans accordingly.”

In Ghana, Cargill is working with ICI and CARE, a long-time partner NGO, to introduce a community approach to CLMRS that involves training women and young people to conduct child labor surveys and coordinate data collection systems in their own communities. Based on this data, specific remediation plans can be developed to deal with incidents of child labor. Currently, the effort reaches more than 8,000 planters in 56 communities. The next step is to extend the initiative to all of the more than 150 cocoa producer communities in Ghana where Cargill sources cocoa directly.

In Indonesia, with its partner Save the Children, Cargill is implementing a new CLMRS program in the South Sulawesi communities of Bone and Wajo. The program follows an initial risk assessment of child labor in the Indonesian supply chain. Inspired by the model of community child protection committees (CBPC), this program will constitute a solid approach to monitoring and remediation designed to protect children and promote their rights.

"To effectively tackle child labor, it is essential that we work with identified families to understand why and how they rely on child labor," said Perry Yeatman, manager of partnerships at Save the Children. “With the help of local communities who interact directly with the planters, we hope to reach up to 20,000 Indonesian planters within three years.”

Also in partnership with Save the Children, Cargill in Côte d'Ivoire, is implementing a program for young people (14-17 years old) to receive coaching and professional training. Cargill identified more than 500 out-of-school youth at risk of child labor through its CLMRS in Côte d'Ivoire, implemented in partnership with ICI. The program will reduce child labor among young people and provide them with valuable practical skills for adulthood. 

As part of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate's Community Welfare objective, the company is committed to ensuring that child labor monitoring mechanisms based on regional and local needs are in place in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia by 2025, as well as corrective measures and community interventions that directly improve the well-being of children.

 Improving community well-being to create prosperous cocoa communities where children stay safe, complete their education, and fulfill themselves, is one of the company's five sustainable development goals. This is part of the wider Cargill Cocoa Promise promise and the company's commitment to improve the lives of one million cocoa farmers and their communities by 2030.