Internationally, the cocoa sector, especially in West Africa is a sector known to be at high risk for labour exploitation and the worst forms of child labour. UK and European chocolate companies with a presence in the region include Nestle, Mondelez (Cocoa Life), Cargill, Divine, Barry Callebout and Ferrero. Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire are the top two global producers of cocoa. The Netherlands, UK, France, US and Germany are the top 5 importers of cocoa cultivated in Ghana. Some of these countries (UK, US and Netherlands in particular) already have legislation regarding modern slavery and child labour which apply to this supply chain, but forthcoming EU legislation on human rights and due diligence will also be high on the agenda for EU member states.
A joint rapid research project by United Nations University - Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) and Institute of Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) explored how the finance sector in Ghana, the UK and Europe could contribute to reducing the vulnerabilities of populations affected by the cocoa sector in Ghana to experiences of ‘modern slavery’, including trafficking and child labour, in the context of COVID-19 and climate change.
Although Ghana is the second highest producer of cocoa globally, generating almost 2 billion USD per year, inequality within the global value chain combined with climate change, is found to place the sustainability of the sector, children's rights and farmers livelihoods in jeopardy.
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