Call on Companies to act, because conditions on cocoa farms are inhumane!

While the market of chocolate products is booming, many cocoa farmers and workers in the Global South still live in absolute poverty, because they have a too low income from cocoa production. Many of them are working under poor conditions, and there is evidence of many children being exploited as cheap labour. Further, destroyed farmland is a result of unsustainable farming practices and monocultures.

Express your disagreement with current conditions in cocoa cultivation and purchasing practices of chocolate companies – make a statement against the exploitation of cocoa farmers! Prompt chocolate companies to take responsible steps for improving the living and working conditions of cocoa farmers and workers and enhance sustainable and diverse agricultural practices.

We demand Chocolate Companies to

Chocolate companies shall ensure the compliance with human rights and decent working conditions by fully respecting and implementing the internationally recognized principles as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  and the  International Labour Organization  (ILO). In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana alone almost 2 million children are working on cocoa plantations, hundreds of thousands of them working under conditions which are not allowed by international standards. Due to these serious grievances in cocoa production, companies must particularly oppose exploitative child labour in accordance with the ILO conventions 182 and 138.

Chocolate companies have to guarantee a sufficient income for small-scale farmers and hired workers in order to secure a decent living for themselves and their families in relation to the total cost of living in their respective country. The average income of farmers and workers especially in West Africa is far below the level of absolute poverty which means living on 1,25 USD and less per day. The income must cover the basic needs of the earners and their families which include shelter, nutrition, drinking water, health care, education, child care, taxes and transportation amongst others. With regard to small-scale producers, such an income refers to a fair minimum price for their cocoa beans, enabling them to pay a living wage to their hired workers. Further, a fair payment prevents farmers from using child labour and allows parents to pay school related costs for their children.

Chocolate companies must use an independent product certification system accompanied by an external monitoring system in order to guarantee adherence to social and ecological standards and to assure full transparency along the supply chain. Given the fact that independent certification of products still only holds a small share of the overall production of chocolate, companies must hence substantially increase their use of certified cocoa with the long-term goal of aligning all their products to these standards.

Chocolate Companies have to contribute to the maintenance of a balanced ecological and climate system as well as good quality of soil and water by supporting sustainable cocoa production. They shall further increase farmers’ capacities to diversify their agricultural products as it plays a crucial role in improving the living conditions of small-scale farmers. Cultivating and trading a variety of crops stabilizes the income of farmers and their workers by reducing the dependency on barely profitable cocoa business. Besides, agricultural diversification protects them against crises such as crop failure caused by extreme weather conditions, minimizes the negative effects of extreme price fluctuations and enhances food security. With regard to both aspects companies must ensure regular trainings of cocoa farmers on climate and natural resource friendly agricultural practices and methods on agricultural diversification.

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The petition will be finally handed over to the chocolate companies at their general assembly in June 2015. Please note that signatures can already be presented earlier to particular companies at suitable occasions. In the meantime, make sure to buy fair traded chocolate products whenever you can!

Any personal information, including your name or e-mail address, will only be used for the purpose of this petition, and not be shared, disclosed or passed on to third parties.