Tom Harkin D-IA became involved and essentially the amendment was watered down to create the "Protocol for the growing and processing of cocoa beans and their derivative products in a manner that complies with ILO Convention concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor" and adult forced labor on cocoa farms in West Africa. The parties agreed to a six-article plan:. What was the success? They were contracted to provide 4 reports on the progress made.

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For chocolate lovers, the thought of this creamy rich confection invokes an emotion or passion if you will that makes it an essential part of the daily diet. Some, consuming it multiple times a day. We give chocolate as gifts for special occasions and profess our affection through ornate heart shaped boxes full of the decadent treat. But what is the true price of chocolate commerce? And some would argue that over the years, the value of labor and slaves has even diminished.

What has history taught us? For centuries, children have been used as slaves in the cacao trade. The True History of Chocolate elucidates that the ethics of the chocolate trade have been flawed for too long. The problem cannot be ignored, and the cacao plantation is no place for a child.

Since then, the industry has become increasingly secretive, making it difficult for reporters to not only access farms where human rights violations still occur, but to then disseminate this information to the public. For many chocolate consumers and their conscience, it may be enough to bite into their favorite Endangered Species or Alter Ego brand chocolate bars and be guilt free — feeling that they have done their part and contributed SOMETHING by choosing what they deem to be an ethically sourced chocolate product.

For others, we are angry and want to do something immediately that will change the trajectory in a more positive direction. So, what do you do? But are we as consumers responsible for policing the global child labor problems of the chocolate industry? According to an esteemed group of experts working in collaboration between the International Labor Organization, the Labor Prosecutors Office of Brazil, and journalists with Papal Social, it can only be through collaboration between farmers, governments, and chocolate companies that we can address the variety of problems and conditions that exist in the chocolate supply chain globally.

Through their working paper published in November of , COCOA SUPPLY CHAIN Advances and Challenges Toward the Promotion of Decent Work: A Situational Analysis this group of experts who have made their careers studying human rights in relation to labor and have developed methodology to measure and study the important issues of child labor — according to international and domestic law shines a light on the fact that we need to promote the debate around the labor conditions in the labor supply chain.

This respected group of human rights advocates also illuminate the fact that consumers can have a significant impact on these efforts — and the good news is that there can be light at the end of the tunnel.

There are many ways that we as consumers can support the cacao kids that are losing their childhood and tragically, sometimes their lives to the cocoa and chocolate industry. To get involved, here a few recommendations from them and other activists:. Though chocolate has been studied academically and discussed politically, there are still significant gaps that each and every one of us can contribute to closing.

So, the next time that you pick up your favorite chocolate confection, may the guilt be only on your lips and on your hips. Berlan, Amanda. Borgen, Clint. Jpg, 20 Mar. Coe, Sophie D. The True History of Chocolate. Zed Books, Home , Cocoabarometer. Taza Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate company that launched in Somerville, Massachusetts in However, perhaps their most noteworthy trademark as a chocolate company is their commitment to ethical cacao sourcing that features the relationships with the farmers from whom they obtain their cacao beans.

Specifically, Taza has formed Direct Trade relationships with five cacao producers around South America and the Caribbean.

As documented through their groundbreaking annual cacao sourcing transparency reports, Taza contributes to the global problems facing the cacao-chocolate supply chain by keying in on each level within their supply chain- both the farmers who cultivate the product and the partners who source the cacao.

Through their unique methodology and commitment, Taza achieves paying premium prices that reach their partners and promoting fair labor practices. For chocolate companies, forming strong, healthy relationships with both the farmers and companies from which they source their cacao seems like an obvious solution to the problematic cacao-producing industry, but it is more difficult and less observed in practice.

While conventional practice for firms to promote fair labor practices features obtaining a Fair Trade certification, Taza has done an effective job of this using the alternative Direct Trade model. While Fair Trade aims to more justly compensate marginalized producers, it creates unintended consequences. For example, little of the extra money produced by a Fair Trade agreement reaches the developing countries, and of that, less reaches the farmers Sylla, One reason for this is the cost to obtain a Fair Trade certification, shouldered by the producers, is the same everywhere, meaning that the poorest countries have the most difficulty obtaining the certification Sylla, ; Martin, , Lecture 9.

Conversely, Direct Trade circumvents any fees required for certification and privatizes the contractual relationship so that the producers do not bear unnecessary costs. Taza was the first chocolate maker in the United States to establish a third-party certified Direct Trade Cacao sourcing program Taza Website. While relationships are often fragile and temporary between chocolate companies and cacao farmers that participate in Direct Trade Martin, , Lecture 9 , Taza has taken notable steps to ensure a healthy relationship that truly benefits everyone, from the cacao farmer to the consumer.

Specifically, as one part of their relationships with their partners through the Direct Trade model, Taza physically visits each partner at least once per year to build trust and compassion. Whitmore and company are seen sharing their Taza product with Haitian farmers, a gesture that is representative of their close relationship. By connecting with PISA, Taza, as Whitmore describes, has highlighted the strengths of two entities and brought them together to make something great.

PISA specializes in these processes Leissle, Daunted by unstable cacao market prices, government control of purchasing and distributing, and supply chain intermediaries squeezing profits, cacao farmers fall victim to extremely low incomes. Sylla, Today, intermediaries have inserted themselves in the supply chain of these cacao-dependent communities, squeezing profits throughout the supply chain and leaving cacao farmers with the bare minimum.

Specifically, they have garnered strong market power through horizontal and vertical integration. At each level of the supply chain, competition has driven many players out, allowing these intermediaries to accomplish horizontal integration.

By broadening their responsibilities within the supply chain, they have also achieved vertical integration Sylla, By ensuring a share of the premium prices they pay their sourcing partners reaches the farmers themselves, Taza plays their part in combatting the global lack of cacao farmer compensation. In , Last took steps to ensure that cacao farmers were getting a slice of the cake too.

When Last visited these farms ensure their shares were received, he found no discrepancies between their reports and the payments documented by their own partners. The extensive effort displayed by Jesse Last and Taza sets the standard that not just bean-to-bar, but all chocolate companies around the world should strive to meet in regard to paying the cacao farmers a reasonable salary.

While obstacles, like those previously mentioned, often intervene with guaranteed fair wages for farmers, Taza has taken a uniquely ethical path not only to ensure this but also to strengthen the relationship between their partners and the farmers and to spread this methodology through the transparency report for the world to see.

Their effort to affect others in an ethical fashion does not end with their suppliers- it extends all the way to their consumers. As further part of their Direct trade Commitment, Taza requires all their cacao be USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, as can be seen on one of their chocolate bars below, providing a healthy blend of ingredients in their chocolate for their consumers.

The traditional cultivation method of burning sugar cane unavoidably releases toxic gases and substantially contributes to biodiversity loss. The Native Green Cane Project has made a positive environmental impact by designing a mechanical harvester that eliminates toxic gas emissions and saves water that would otherwise be used to clean burnt cane. Furthermore, this practice eliminates the use of synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, and pesticides, making for a safer labor environment.

Through these organic methodologies, Taza not only provides healthier products for their consumers but also contributes to a cleaner environment while promoting safer working conditions.

To guarantee the integrity of their Direct Trade program, Taza has had Quality Certification Services, a USDA-accredited organic certifier out of Gainesville, Florida independently verify the upholding of five Direct Trade claims, outlined on their website.

To verify annual visits to their partners, Taza provides flight receipts or e-tickets. To verify paying their cacao producers a premium rate, they provide annual invoices completed by their Sourcing Manager and the cacao-producing partner. To ensure the exclusive usage of USDA certified cacao, they provide proper certification documentation from their partners and farmers. While Taza has contributed immensely by enhancing their relationships with their origin partners, one way they could improve their outreach is by expanding to West Africa.

In other countries such as Ghana, children have limited freedom to choose to go into labor Berlan, This undeniable evidence highlights deep internal roots that drive these continued unethical labor practices and the need for intervention from outside parties- specifically from local government, international entities, and corporations. However, these entities have had limited effect on changing the scope of West African cacao production over the years.

Taza could potentially break the stigma that West Africa is a poor investment for these artisan chocolate makers. However, considering the obstacles in play, Taza would need to stumble upon a perfect situation- one that might not exist now. Taza would likely need to look to other countries, such as the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast completely deregulated its market, meaning Taza could directly contact farmers and cooperatives as they do with their five current partners.

The problem then would be the quality of cacao. Cacao beans emit varying flavors and textures depending on strain and terroir, and Taza, like most bean-to-bar companies, prides itself on the unique tastes produced by the terroir of the regions from which they source their cacao.

Despite being the biggest producer in the world, West Africa is known for producing very few single origin bars. Farmers in West Africa predominantly grow direct-sun-tolerant, pest- and disease-resistant hybrid cacao beans, which are usually weak in flavor or bitter Leissle, Furthermore, these regions operate on a large scale, making it difficult for small artisan companies to buy beans in smaller quantities. These regions typically will not sell in small quantities even if Taza offered a high premium for their beans.

If Taza could somehow find a way into the small community of the Ivory Coast with quality cacao, they could impact that community through their commitment to relationships and premium prices. More importantly, they might open the door for other artisan — specifically bean-to-bar- chocolate companies By showing that it is possible to ethically source quality cacao from West Africa. Overall, Taza sets a notable example for the chocolate industry by doing their part to combat the global problems facing cacao producers.

Specifically, the Direct Trade method of sourcing cacao that Taza has adopted has allowed them to form strong relationships with their partners by connecting face-to-face at least once per year. By circumventing profit-squeezing middlemen present in the more widely practice Fair Trade method, Taza ensures that both their cacao-sourcing partners and the farmers get a fair share of the profits that their cacao generates.

Furthermore, their awareness and commitment to uphold these practices is obvious as displayed through their unique transparency reports and third-party certifier. While Taza could up the ante by seeking to take on the most corrupt cacao-producing region in the world, West Africa, they would face many challenges- namely finding a Direct Trade partner and flavorful cacao-beans- that would danger upholding their current model of ethical sourcing.

Taza, while only a small bean-to-bar chocolate company, must continue their commitment to ethical partnerships with cacao-producers and to transparency of these partnerships. Berlan, A. Leissle, K. Invisible West Africa. The Politics of Single Origin Chocolate. Off, C. New York: New Press. Zed Books. Sylla, N.

The fair trade scandal: Marketing poverty to benefit the rich. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. While American and European consumers associate chocolate with romance, desserts, and luxury, the disparity between end product consumer and cacao producer is significant.


Chocolate Class

For chocolate lovers, the thought of this creamy rich confection invokes an emotion or passion if you will that makes it an essential part of the daily diet. Some, consuming it multiple times a day. We give chocolate as gifts for special occasions and profess our affection through ornate heart shaped boxes full of the decadent treat. But what is the true price of chocolate commerce? And some would argue that over the years, the value of labor and slaves has even diminished.


US chocolate industry's Harkin-Engel Protocol on child labour expires

July 1, will mark the expiration of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, a voluntary protocol agreed to by the chocolate industry to ensure U. Eyewitness reports from the field confirm that the industry has failed to fulfill its promise to monitor and certify by July that the cocoa it imports is not made by forced child labor. Read the full post here. This report documents these two trends: the lack of movement in the chocolate industry as a whole on the issue of illegal child labor and the forward movement by consumers who are concerned about the working conditions of cocoa workers and have begun demanding Fair Trade chocolate. Charity web design from Fat Beehive. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies.

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