The Impact of Certification Systems
Since 2000 the world has been aware of the scandal of children being trafficked to harvest and produce cocoa in West Africa. In 2001 the global chocolate industry publically acknowledged the use of forced, child and trafficked labour in their operations and signed a collective agreement – the Harkin-Engel Protocol – to eliminate it from their supply chains. Campaigning organisations started to see changes in line with this commitment when they began engaging the issue in earnest from 2007. The ask of the campaigners was for the industry to implement third party, independent auditing of farms and cooperatives at one end of the supply chain and on-product labelling for the consumer to know steps were being taken for their favourite chocolates to be “traffik-free”.
Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ have such certification systems. Their standards are set independently and their auditing processes are undertaken independently by third-parties. They then offer on product labelling for communicating with consumers at point of sale.
Over the years many people have asked how good this system is, what it actually achieves and how the three certifications differ. A Matter of Taste, a report produced through the work of STOP THE TRAFFIK, Baptist World Aid Australia and World Vision Australia, looks at the impact of certification systems in eliminating human trafficking in the cocoa industry. Read more…