Is Lindt OK?

These are the questions we keep getting asked? Our A Matter of Taste Report is researched and written to help you answer these questions. The reality is the scene has changed and in some cases the chocolate companies are actually doing more to end human trafficking and child labour than some of the certification schemes.

The best mix combines the programs of chocolate companies with certification, like Nestle with UTZ. This provides the robustness of independent audits and best practice on child labour monitoring and remediation, community development, improving agricultural methods and empowering women and youth. Mondelez (Cadbury and Toblerone) are doing a variation of this with their new partnership with FLOCERT (Fairtrade’s standard setting and auditing body)

What about Lindt?

Lindt & Sprüngli have opted for company control of their entire supply chain. Lindt & Sprüngli have devised their own verification framework which monitors child labour on farms and adherence to the company’s standards of best practice. It is externally verified by The Forest Trust, (http://www.tft-earth.org supply chain, social and environmental experts.) 

Where they are excelling is in the following

·      They source from farmers rather than cooperatives and therefore have the deepest connection with their farmers of all schemes and companies. Every farm they source from is visited every year. Human trafficking happens in farms not co-ops, so they are likely to know what is happening on the ground.

·      They do a baseline assessment of every farm which includes knowing the number of school age children and the distance to the nearest school. This is important in addressing child labour – if a child is in school, they aren’t working.

·      They have trained more than 50,000 farmers in agricultural, social, environmental and business practices. This includes sensitisation on child labour and human trafficking. The model then has farmers who are trained passing on their knowledge to neighbouring farmers.

·      Their supplier code of conduct is robust when it comes to child labour and human trafficking and their 250 field staff make unannounced visits to farms (with an emphasis on those at risk)

·      They are engaging community development activities developed with the farmer communities.

·      They are only sourcing from Ghana where reports on human trafficking have been absent.

Lindt still needs to publish their impact reports and expand their community development. In terms of addressing human trafficking, in a multi-dimensional approach, they are using some of the leading practices.

Increasingly, chocolate companies are moving beyond certification as a verification of minimum requirements of responsible practice to invest in local cocoa-growing communities. Given that child labour is a social ramification of poverty, companies are embracing their role as agents of development, as advocated by the UN, and supporting the idea of resilient communities.