The Fairtrade Foundation welcomes Nestle’s announcement that it has launched an ‘Income Accelerator’ which aims to tackle some of the most pressing issues associated with child labour on cocoa farms. This is a positive first step from one of the world’s largest buyers of cocoa on the path towards facilitating a sustainable living for cocoa farmers. We at Fairtrade see this move as one that vindicates our years of campaigning for the big global cocoa companies to do more for the farmers in their supply chains on whom they rely to grow cocoa beans, as data shows that any decision to directly increase the money paid to farming communities will significantly improve their livelihoods and their wellbeing.
For years, Fairtrade has advocated for better incomes through its Minimum Price and Premium, adopted by partners and supported by its many networks of grassroots campaigners, and so even as we welcome this announcement, we urge Nestle to go further by joining Fairtrade and like- minded partners such as Tony’s Chocolonely and Ben & Jerry’s in committing to paying higher prices for their cocoa, which in turn will accelerate farmers even faster towards a Living income.
Fundamentally cocoa farmers need to be sure that their buyers will commit to purchasing increased volumes of cocoa at a price that enables a living income, matching or ideally exceeding Fairtrade terms. And this income should come with no strings attached and reflect the true value of cocoa production by allowing farmers to use their earnings to tackle the problems they face every day, now and in the future. Paying living incomes must be a goal for the cocoa sector, and only then can we achieve an industry that is sustainable, equitable and fair, with decent livelihoods for farmers the standard and child labour consigned to the past.
NOTES TO EDITORS
No one organisation will be able to tackle the issue of child labour and poverty alone. It takes purposeful commitments from brands, NGOs, producers, and governments to make the necessary changes. Therefore, it’s critical that all of us within the cocoa industry work together alongside cocoa-producing communities so we can end the practice of child labour and move toward decent livelihoods for farmers.
With our Living Income Strategy, we are working with brands and retailers to move even closer to achieving living incomes for farmers by establishing a Living Income Reference Price (LIRP), which is the price needed for an average farmer household with a viable farm size and adequate productivity level to make a living income from the sales of their crop. The LIRP needs to be implemented alongside other interventions such as good agricultural practices, cooperative strengthening, income diversification, and access to vital services are needed to support and sustain living incomes.
With endemic issues, such as child labour, only comprehensive, all round approaches can deliver the most impactful outcomes. Indeed, according to the ILO, ensuring children have access to nearby schools, providing access to basic health and human services, developing safe youth employment options, providing income diversification, and addressing discrimination are all necessary to make long-lasting change possible.