Wooden spoon full of cocoa powder styled over table top with chocolate & coffee cherries
Photo by Brands&People on Unsplash

The recent claims of the use of dangerous child labour on cocoa farms in Cadbury’s chocolate production are appalling to see, demonstrating once again why we need to do more to safeguard producers in our food chain.

The footage of young children working in gruelling conditions on farms in Ghana, forced to use dangerous equipment and methods without suitable safety equipment, are completely unacceptable.

It’s clear, if true, these practices need to end immediately and Cadbury must do more to improve standards in its supply chain, particularly in developing nations.

As the Labour and Co-operative Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, supporting global producers is something I’ve long campaigned for. We must ensure they have a better deal, which provides fair pay, suitable working conditions, and makes real difference to the lives of small-scale producers.

I’m proud of the co-operative movement’s longstanding support of fairtrade, which does so much to benefit workers in developing countries by minimum pricing and standards, trade transparency, and investing into communities.

It may be no coincidence, therefore, that Cadbury pulled out of the Fairtrade scheme in favour of its own stamp of approval some years ago – one which if these claims are accurate, evidently falls far below the minimum standards required.

When Cadbury and its owner Mondelez are making huge profits each year, it is simply unacceptable if these are being made off the backs of cocoa farms using child labour in terrible conditions.

Along with the Co-operative Party and wider co-operative movement, I will continue to support fairtrade principles and standards to prevent these instances from happening. We must demonstrate what a positive impact trade can have for the world’s poorest when it is done properly, ethically, and with consideration for social and environment protections at its core.