Arnott’s ensure Tim Tams are free from child labour

Posted by Josette Dunn on 29th October 2010

World Vision Australia today welcomed Arnott’s announcement that it will source ethical cocoa that has not been made with the use of child labour for all of its chocolate-based products, including the iconic Tim Tam biscuit.

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In response to a public campaign by World Vision earlier this year, Arnott’s said on 30 March that it was “committed to playing its part by sourcing sustainable cocoa that avoids the use of child trafficking and unacceptable forms of child labour” by the “end September 2010”.

World Vision’s CEO Tim Costello met with Arnott’s last night and said he was pleased to hear the company had now committed to ensure its cocoa supply chains were free from child labour.

“Arnott’s sources 24 percent of its cocoa from Ghana in West Africa where there is widespread use of child labour in the cocoa industry. As CEO of World Vision I have visited the cocoa fields in West Africa where kids use dangerous machetes and pesticides, work long hours and often don’t go to school,” he said.

“World Vision understands that Arnott’s has signed an agreement to source its West African cocoa until 2012 through Fairtrade’s independent certification scheme. We are very pleased with Arnott’s commitment to source ethical cocoa.

“The lack of a fair and stable price for cocoa farmers is a root cause of the exploitative labour problem. Farmers typically receive only a very small proportion of the final retail price for their cocoa, which means they are forced to produce it below the fair cost of production. It’s these conditions that often lead farmers to use child labour.

“By sourcing its cocoa through the Fairtrade certification system, Arnott’s is helping farmers get a fair price for their cocoa. It will also protect Arnott’s supply chain from exploitative labour practices.”

The US Department of State’s June 2010 Trafficking in Persons report said a majority of modern slaves were in agriculture and mining and that forced labour was prevalent in many products including chocolate. The report also said reputable companies could profit from abuse when they did not protect their supply chain from modern slavery.

World Vision Australia’s Don’t Trade Lives campaign is calling on the global chocolate industry to guarantee farmers a fair price for their cocoa and to eliminate all exploited labour from cocoa production by 2018.

“If you want to enjoy your chocolate guilt-free, join World Vision’s Don’t Trade Lives campaign or contact chocolate manufacturers and ask them to commit to buying cocoa that is independently and ethically certified,” Mr Costello said.

Cadbury and Green & Black’s recently agreed to clean up their cocoa supply chains. The Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate block is now Fairtrade certified and 90 percent of Green & Blacks products will be Fairtrade certified by the end of 2010.