Chocolate is a delicious treat that countless Americans enjoy. But in West Africa, the world's largest cocoa growing region, 60% of cocoa farmers earn less than $2 a day, the international poverty line. Millions of children work on cocoa farms instead of going to school or enjoying a childhood. Despite the growth of Fair Trade, as well as the enormous resources the cocoa industry has invested in combating this issue for the past decade, the number of children working in cocoa fields has not gone down.
Consumers need to pressure cocoa companies to address child labor and farmer poverty
In 2010, Green America launched the Raise the Bar! Hershey campaign with allies, demanding that Hershey take steps to address the issue of child labor in their supply chain. Thanks to sustained pressure from Green Americans and Hershey consumers, the two-year campaign culminated with a commitment from Hershey to move to 100% ethically sourced cocoa by 2020.
The Raise the Bar! Hershey campaign demonstrates how powerful a united consumer voice is. We must continue to build on the success of the Hershey campaign, and pressure other leaders in the cocoa industry to make serious commitments to eradicate child labor.
Most major chocolate companies have commitments to source more sustainable cocoa. In fact, many of them have plans to have 100% certified cocoa in their supply chain by 2020. Although this is an important step in the right direction, certification programs alone are not enough to solve the underlying issues that contribute to child labor in cocoa, including farmer poverty and a lack of infrastructure.
Take action with Green America today, and tell chocolate companies that you believe that children deserve to have healthy and safe childhoods away from cocoa fields.