30 March 2021

ICI and its members pledge to scale up child protection systems in 2021

To mark the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and its members are pledging to scale up systems that prevent and address child labour, as part of corporate human rights due diligence efforts, to cover 540,000 cocoa-growing households in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana by the end of 2021.

2021 is a pivotal year in the fight against child labour as it marks the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, presenting an important opportunity to raise awareness of the challenge, and double down on efforts to tackle it. In order to recognize the International Year, the Alliance 8.7 and the International Labour Organization are calling on all stakeholders to make a Pledge for Action that will be achieved by the end of 2021, and that is designed to pave the way to ending child labour by 2025. ICI and its members are therefore pledging to scale up the coverage of systems that effectively prevent and address child labour as part of corporate human rights due diligence efforts (for example Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems). By the end of 2021, our collective aim is for these systems to cover 540,000 cocoa-growing households in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, representing approximately 30% of the cocoa supply chain in those countries.

This ambitious pledge forms part of ICI’s wider goal to help ensure that 100% of the cocoa supply chain is covered by such systems by 2025. This expansion is critically important since, according to the most recent US-funded study by NORC, approximately 1.56m children are currently involved in some form of child labour in the cocoa sectors of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. A separate study by NORC also found that there has been a one-third reduction in hazardous child labour in communities where company programmes that include these systems have been in place for at least 3 years, proving that they are delivering tangible impact that now needs to be extended to more communities, more households and more children at-risk. This pledge also underlines a collective commitment to implement and upscale corporate human rights due diligence measures in line with evolving legislation and expectations at national and international level.

“At ICI, we are greatly heartened to see so many strong pledges to tackle child labour from a wide range of NGOs, businesses and governments. ICI’s pledge on behalf of its members is an equally significant commitment to action that will increase the reach of impactful systems in 2021 as a major stride towards our eventual goal of catalyzing 100% supply chain coverage by 2025,” said Nick Weatherill, ICI’s Executive Director. “We look forward to supporting our members and other stakeholders in the sector in putting their pledges into action and continuing our drive to scale up efforts that are proven to help in the fight against child labour in cocoa.”

In making this pledge ICI and its members join a host of other organizations, countries, and businesses who have pledged to tackle child labour in the context of Alliance 8.7’s campaign to increase awareness and boost action during this International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

Find out more about ICI’s goal to scale up systems that address and prevent child labour in our 2021-2026 strategy.

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