Cocoa Sector Works Together to Eliminate Child Labor

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UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside supports Labor Dept’s child labor-free production goal

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We are excited that the Administration is so committed to end the worst forms of child labor in an industry which makes products that taste so good and that provides livelihoods for so many.

A joint initiative has been announced on September 13th between U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, members of the U.S. Congress, Labor ministers of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and cocoa industry executives in an effort to eliminate child labor in the cocoa industry. UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside - a sustainability program for cocoa, coffee and tea - recognizes the need for action and strongly supports this innovative partnership.

UTZ CERTIFIED is one of the largest sustainability programs for coffee, cocoa and tea in the world. UTZ certification improves the livelihoods of farmers because they have been trained in improving agricultural and business practices which lead to a better quality product, higher productivity and a more cost efficient use of resources. Environmental and social aspects are equally addressed within the UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside sustainability program. This way, farmers become more professional which enables them to negotiate a better price for a better product on the world market while operating with more responsible environmental and labor practices.

For a group of farmers to become certified, they need to comply with the UTZ CERTIFIED Code of Conduct. This set of criteria is balanced according the three pillars of sustainability: People, Planet & Profit. The People pillar within the code requires that labor practices on the farm are in compliance with the ILO conventions on child and adult labor, thereby supporting their implementation. When an independent auditor has confirmed that the farmers comply with the code, UTZ certification is granted. It is the social aspect within the UTZ CERTIFIED Code of Conduct which provides the framework and knowledge for farmers to foster healthy and productive environments for children by addressing their safety and access to education and health care. By addressing these social issues and equally focusing on environmental and economical improvements, not only does the livelihood of the farmer improve but also the well-being of his entire family.

“We are excited that the Administration is so committed to end the worst forms of child labor in an industry which makes products that taste so good and that provides livelihoods for so many,” said Graham Mitchell, UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside General Manager – North America. “This partnership builds on years of hard work on the subject, especially by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and we look forward to supporting it where we can.”

UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside works closely together with many important players in the cocoa industry including Mars, Nestlé, Royal Ahold and Heinz Benelux and intermediaries like Barry Callebaut, Cargill and Ecom. This cooperation fits within today’s trend in which NGOs and companies work in partnership towards sustainability in mainstream cocoa production. The first UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside cocoa and chocolate products are now available for consumers in Europe and Australia. To learn more about the UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside Cocoa Program please view our video at http://www.orientation.nl/utz.html or visit http://www.utzcertified.org/cocoa .

About UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside
UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside is a sustainability program dedicated to creating an open and transparent marketplace for agricultural products. UTZ CERTIFIED has developed sustainability models for the production of cocoa, coffee and tea, and offers traceability services for palm oil. UTZ CERTIFIED’s vision is to achieve sustainable agricultural supply chains in which farmers are trained to be professionals; industry takes responsibility by demanding and sourcing sustainably grown products; and consumers buy products that meet their standard for social and environmental responsibility.

In 2007, Cargill, Ecom Agroindustrial, Heinz Benelux, Mars, Nestlé, Royal Ahold, Solidaridad, Oxfam Novib, WWF International and UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside founded the Good Inside cocoa program. In August 2009, two co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire received the first UTZ CERTIFIED cocoa certificates for 1,590 member farmers in after working with Cargill and Solidaridad in an intensive eight month program, with support of the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative. The first certified cocoa beans were officially presented on November 7th, 2009 to Mr. Bert Koenders, the Dutch Minister of Development Co-operation. For more information visit: http://www.utzcertified.org.

For more information on UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside related to child labor, please see the position paper via http://www.utzcertified.org/index.php?pageID=111&showdoc=111_0_106.

For more information please contact:
Contact: Sandra Marquardt, 301-592-0077
E-mail: Smarquardt(at)onthemarkpr(dot)com

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Sandra Marquardt
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