Anti-exploitation campaigners welcome Fairtrade chocolate victory

By staff writers
March 6, 2009

Campaigners against global human trafficking and labour exploitation have welcomed the announcement from a major British manufacturer this week that its best known chocolate bars are now to go Fairtrade.

Cadbury's Dairy Milk, the chocolate brand's best selling product, is to receive Fairtrade certification by the late summer of 2009.

The announcement came in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight.

The organisation Stop the Traffik has welcomed the company's decision, which comes two years into its Chocolate Campaign that aims for manufacturers to use only ethically produced cocoa in their products.

The coalition's founder, Baptist minister and entrepreneur the Rev Steve Chalke, is calling on other producers to follow Cadbury's example.

He declared: "This is a very significant step in our campaign. We congratulate Cadburys on their commitment to justice and now look to their policy being adopted across their entire product range as well as to their lead being followed by other manufacturers."

Chalke continued: "The Stop the Traffik Chocolate Campaign marches on. We now call on Mars and other manufacturers to follow Cadbury’s lead and abandon their reliance on the use of cocoa produced through trafficked and exploitative forms of child labour."

Stop the Traffik has warned that thousands of children are being trafficked onto cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast and across West Africa to harvest the cocoa that makes the world's chocolate.

The industry committed in 2001 to removing all forms of exploitative child labour from the chocolate supply chain, but the campaign says that little effective progress has been made.

Stop the Traffik CEO Ruth Dearnley claimed that the turnaround in Cadbury's stance demonstrated the strength of the consumer campaign and urged others to get involved.

She commented: "This decision demonstrates the power of ordinary [people] to bring about change and freedom. Two years ago, when Stop the Traffik met with Cadbury we were told that the decision we have witnessed today was impossible and impracticable. This is a victory for every person who has complained, campaigned and spread the message."

Dearnley added: "Most of all [this] is a victory for every child held in exploitative labour on the cocoa farms of West Africa. However, let us not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They will not be set free until Mars and Nestle and Lindt and Hershey and all the others have the integrity to put human rights before profit and make similar announcements."

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