Bakers Journal

World Vision promotes ethical chocolate and reissues call for supply-chain legislation

February 16, 2022
By Bakers Journal

Mississauga, Ont. – World Vision Canada is releasing an updated version of its Good Chocolate Guide to encourage Canadians to buy certified FairTrade chocolate as part of its ongoing effort to eliminate labour exploitation around the world.

“Chocolate is just one of many products consumed by Canadians that is at a high risk of being connected to child labour – an issue that is a lot closer to Canada than we’d like to think, according to the international development agency,” the organization said in a news release.

Extreme poverty in countries such as Brazil, Ghana and Sierra Leone pushes parents to send their children to work on cocoa and sugar farms, often in dirty, dangerous and degrading conditions to support their family, the release said.

In 2020, according to World Vision research, Canada imported more than $312 million in cocoa that may have used and abused child and forced labour. That same year, risky Canadian imports of sugarcane and cane sugar, chocolate’s other main ingredient, totalled more than $527 million.

For the past decade, World Vision Canada has been calling on the federal government to join many of its international trade partners in introducing supply-chain legislation. This would require companies to publicly report on the measures being taken to prevent and reduce risks of child and forced labour in their supply chains.

The president of World Vision Canada, Michael Messenger, said he is encouraged by recent commitments to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan.

“After many years of pushing, there are indications the federal government is taking this issue seriously,” Messenger said. “Canadian connections to a global child and forced labour problem continue to worsen. The time for strong action is now, and we hope to see government take more steps towards action in the next few months.”

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