Fairtrade singles out two countries for closer scrutiny on cocoa producers

15 December 2022

The latest update to Fairtrade’s cocoa standard places an extra emphasis on ensuring supply chains of leading producers Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are free of child labour.

The latest changes to Fairtrade’s Cocoa Standard will come into effect over the next two years and introduce additional requirements on deforestation, human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) as well as traceability and transparency.

But while many of the wider regulations will affect buyers around the world, others are specifically aimed at Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – where cocoa supply chains are considered to be at greater risk of child labour.

The full certification requirements instruct small producer organisations (SPOs), specifically in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, that they must implement a monitoring and remediation system to regularly check for and respond to cases of child labour and forced labour from 2024.

In the section of the rules aimed at producers in other countries, they are only required to carry out the same due diligence in specific areas “if Fairtrade or your risk assessment has indicated these as a high risk in your country and area of production”.

SPOs in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana wishing to be certified must also promote the school attendance of children and assess the root causes if children are not attending school.

They must also establish activities “to improve the social and economic position of… vulnerable groups” and “ensure that women and men receive equal opportunities and treatment”.

Other updates to the standard specifically affecting Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana refer to terms of payment for suppliers.

Globally, the update spreads responsibility for compliance between producer organisations and buyers.

The latter are being called on to support producer organisations in prevention of child labour and deforestation, where requirements have been strengthened.

“The update… aims to strike a balance between robust mandates, regional priorities and a shared responsibility of compliance between farmers and involved commercial operators,” said Fairtrade.

An update also requires farm geolocation mapping and prevention and mitigation data to be collected by producers and reported to Fairtrade.

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