Is change really happening in the cocoa fields? Is child labor actually being eradicated, is slavery in the plantations finally coming to and end and are conditions improving for workers? After watching Cocoa-nomics, CNN's investigation into the chocolate industry's supply chains, Richard Quest challenged a panel of experts. Here are the highlights of his discussion with Guy Ryder of the International Labour Organization, Nick Weatherhill of the International Cocoa Initiative, Ben Skinner of Tau Investment Management and Bryson Vogeltanz of the End It Movement.
Two years after exposing slavery in the cocoa plantations of Ivory Coast, a CNN team went back to see how the chocolate industry and the Ivory Coast government were tackling the problem. Watch the documentary, presented by Richard Quest, in full.
As part of the Freedom Project documentary Coaco-nomics, which investigates how the chocolate industry is trying to eradicate slavery from its supply chains, Richard Quest interviewed Ivory Coast Prime Minister Daniel Duncan. He said the government was committed to improving revenues for famers and building schools for children.
This farmer from Ivory Coast has been growing cocoa beans for decades, yet he'd never tasted chocolate. As part of the CNN Freedom Project documentary Cocoa-nomics, Richard Quest explored the economics of the chocolate industry which is trying to eradicate slavery from its supply chains. And when he met some of the men, women and children who harvest the beans, he arrived with a KitKat and a box of luxury chocolates from a business class flight.
The chocolate industry is worth an estimated $110 billion a year, and yet its key commodity is grown by some of the poorest people on the planet, in plantations that can hide the worst forms of child labor.
Two years ago CNN uncovered slavery in the plantations of Ivory Coast. Now manufacturers are facing up to the growing demand for "ethical" chocolate and are taking measures to clean up their supply chains.
But do these measures go far enough and are they fast enough? In the forthcoming series airing on CNN International from February 27, CNN returns to Ivory Coast. Ahead of that, you can read more background about how slavery has tainted the industry. You can find out where in the world the demand for and supply of chocolate is greatest, look at the true cost of a bar of chocolate and see how it is made from bean to bar by scrolling through our info-graphics.
You can also take part in our iReport challenge to eat ethically, and you can meet the village elder who gets to taste a KitKat for the first time.
Two years ago, the documentary Chocolate's Child Slaves exposed the plight of youngsters forced to harvest the beans that make the chocolate we eat around the world. Many of the children made to work in the cocoa plantations in countries like Ivory Coast have never even tasted chocolate. Now CNN has returned to the plantations, this time with the Executive Vice President of Nestle, to find out if anything has changed and to see if the chocolate industry is willing and able to eradicate slavery from its supply chains.
Cocoa-nomics, presented by Richard Quest, will air on CNN International for the first time on February 27. You can watch the trailer above. And we'd like to hear from you too if you are taking steps to make sure the food you eat is not produced by slave labor. Find out more in our iReport assignment.
An independent investigation into Nestlé's cocoa supply chain has found numerous child labor violations and kickstarted an ambitious plan to eventually eradicate forced labor and child labor in its production cycle.
The study was carried out by the Fair Labor Association with Nestlé's support.
"Our investigation of Nestlé's cocoa supply chain represents the first time a multinational chocolate producer has allowed its procurement system to be completely traced and assessed. For too long child labor in cocoa production has been everybody's problem and therefore nobody's responsibility," said FLA President Auret van Heerden.
It means Nestlé is the first chocolate-maker to comprehensively map its cocoa supply chain – and can work on identifying problems areas, training and educating workers and taking action against child labor violations.
Chocolate maker Ferrero has pledged to eradicate slavery from farms where it sources its cocoa by 2020, as part of a growing movement by the multi-billion dollar industry to clean up its supply chains.
The Italian company, which produces Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Nutella spread and Kinder eggs, follows Nestle and Hershey as the third major chocolate manufacturer to announce new anti-slavery moves since September.
It says it will eradicate child labor and forced adult labor from cocoa plantations it uses by 2020, verified by “independent and credible” third parties. Also, it says it will publish a more detailed progress report this summer and promises improved communication to customers.
Up to 75% of the world’s cocoa beans are grown in small farms in West Africa. In the Ivory Coast alone, there are an estimated 200,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create chocolate enjoyed around the world. Many of the children don’t even know what chocolate is. FULL POST
By David Ariosto, CNN
The Hershey company, one of the United States' leading chocolate producers, says it's pledged $10 million over the next five years to educate West African cocoa farmers on improving their trade and combating child labor.
The region is home to about 70% percent of the world's cocoa but has also been the source of recent scrutiny over its alleged use of child labor. (More about the issue)
Hershey's announcement Monday heartened activists, who say the company is finally focusing efforts on improving the root cause of the issue. FULL POST
One of the children featured in the documentary, "Chocolate's Child Slaves," has never eaten chocolate and at 12 years of age, he wishes he could go to school instead of working. CNN attends a workshop for kids on ethical chocolate and gets their reaction to the plight of their peers on the cocoa plantations.
CNN correspondent David McKenzie traveled into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. His documentary "Chocolate's Child Slaves, premiers Friday January 20, 9 CET on CNN International. David is answering your questions from the comments section here:
Martha Johnson asks “What is the motivation of this documentary?”
Thanks Martha. The documentary is based on a simple premise. Ten years after chocolate companies promised to end child slavery and child labor in the cocoa plantations of West Africa, have they kept that promise? It’s about keeping them honest and holding them to their promises. We traveled into the cocoa fields to find the truth. And I think the truth is shocking and the promises have not been kept. As part of our Freedom Project initiative, CNN is investigating the scourge of modern day slavery wherever it exists.
Tens of thousands of children toil in cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast, some against their will, to create the chocolate bars that many of us enjoy.
In a CNN Freedom Project investigation, David McKenzie traveled to the West African country and discovered that despite promises the global chocolate industry made a decade ago to end forced labor, there are still child slaves harvesting cocoa, even though some have never tasted chocolate and some don't even know what the word "chocolate" means.
It can be hard to find ethically produced cocoa, but the "fair trade" designation helps ensures that farmers receive a fair price and prohibits the use of slave and child labor.
For this Freedom Project challenge, we invite you to create a dish using fair trade chocolate, with bonus points to those who make a delicacy that’s special to their country or region.
Submit a photo or video showing off your creation, and tell us about the experience, including any obstacles you faced in finding or using fair trade chocolate. Please include the recipe you used.
The best submissions will be shown on CNN International, Eatocracy and the CNN Freedom Project blog. FULL POST
CNN is joining the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery, amplifying the voices of the victims, highlighting success stories and helping unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life. WHY WE'RE DOING THIS | MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT