Twenty representatives of the European Campaign for Fair Trade chocolate handed a petition on Wednesday with over 120,000 signatures to CAOBISCO – the Association of the Chocolate, Biscuits & Confectionery of Europe. Gathered outside the headquarters of the association in Etterbeek, activists waving placards and chanting various slogans, called for concrete actions to ensure sufficient revenue to cocoa producers.
Evelyn Bahn, coordinator of the campaign, said: “Cocoa is mainly produced in West Africa, where the average wage for farmers and agricultural workers is far below the absolute poverty level. Moreover it is proved that some countries – such as Ghana and Ivory Coast – are trampling on the human rights of workers by resorting to child labour in cocoa plantations.”
Currently, nearly 90% of the price of a chocolate bar ends up in the pockets of cocoa grinding companies, chocolate firms and supermarket chains, while only 10% of the price goes to producers of cocoa.
The petition was signed by some 120,000 people (including no less than 2,000 in Belgium) and handed in on Wednesday. It encourages chocolate firms to calculate a fair subsistence income for cocoa farmers, and use an independent certification system of products and an external monitoring system to ensure their compliance with environmental and social standards. These tools should be available in 2017, according to Coabisco.