Child labour is a challenge in cocoa production. At Orkla we work to promote sustainable cocoa farming in collaboration with UTZ Certified.
Small cocoa farms in West Africa account for close to 70% of global cocoa production. There are a number of challenges related to this production, including the risk of child labour and health and safety hazards for workers.
Cocoa is a key raw material in Orkla’s production of chocolate. Orkla manufactures chocolate in the Nordic and Baltic regions and aims to ensure that all cocoa purchased by the Group is sustainably produced by 2020.
“At Orkla we are committed to a policy of responsible sourcing, and we want to be certain that the goods we buy have been cultivated responsibly. There are significant challenges in the cocoa sector, and cocoa sourcing is therefore one of our focus areas,” explains Kristiina Lahe, Orkla’s cocoa expert. She is in charge of the cocoa and vegetable oil category in Orkla’s sourcing organisation, and follows developments in the cocoa sector closely.
Orkla wants to reduce the risk of child labour and other unacceptable practices, and to help improve the earning potential and living conditions of cocoa farmers. The Group companies actively promote sustainable cocoa cultivation, in part through the purchase of certified cocoa through UTZ Certified, which is the world’s largest independent cocoa certification programme. Today, around 40% of the cocoa purchased by Orkla is certified. The Orkla brands that use 100% UTZ Certified cocoa include Nidar chocolates (Stratos, Troika, Smash! and several other brands), chocolate made by Estonian Kalev and the chocolate spread brands Nugatti and Sjokade.
Higher school attendance with certified cocoa
“Although no certification programme can guarantee that there is no child labour involved, buying certified cocoa is the best means we have for making sure that the product that we purchase has been responsibly farmed,” Kristiina says.
Through UTZ Certified’s certification programme, farmers are monitored to ensure that they use responsible farming practices with no child labour, and they are given training in sustainable, more profitable farming methods. The programme also helps to ensure that children have an opportunity to attend school. Thanks to the increased expertise that the farmers acquire through UTZ Certified, the cocoa famers and their families have higher incomes and better living conditions.
“Ensuring that more children go to school is one of the most important means of reducing the challenges posed by child labour. It is therefore gratifying to see that the percentage of children who attend school increases when farmers become certified,” says Kristiina.