Message from Matthias Lange, ICI Executive Director
Today, we launch our 2022 Annual Report. Reflecting back on the year, we are proud of our actions to prevent and address child labour and forced labour in West Africa.
While much remains to be done, we have continued to learn, to innovate and test new approaches, to build capacity and to advocate for increased implementation, which will allow us to take our work even further in cocoa-growing communities.
By the end of 2022, thanks to the collective efforts of our members across industry and civil society, 707,925 households in West Africa have been covered by CLMRS or equivalent systems (see The Year in Numbers). This marks an improvement of almost 118,000 more households covered since 2021 and another step toward our ultimate goal of 100% coverage of the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with CLMRS or equivalent systems.
These are strides that we could not make without the efforts of the collective. We have always maintained that child labour cannot be solved by any one actor alone, and we are pleased to continue to work with civil society organisations, the cocoa and chocolate industry and diverse government stakeholders to tackle this challenge. In 2022, we welcomed Cocoasource, ETG and Starbucks as new members (see ICI members, contributing partners and other donors).
We continued our work to advance learning, and to develop and implement innovative approaches that will directly impact cocoa-growing communities. Throughout the year, we published several studies which explored the importance of education (see Exploring the importance of education in cocoa‑growing communities), focusing on innovative teaching methods to help children learn and to encourage out-of-school children to join the schooling system, and on the protective effect of education on child wellbeing.
In terms of innovative approaches, we continued our pilot project on Child Friendly Spaces, we studied the impact of cash transfers in combination with labour vouchers on cocoa communities, we continued to explore the potential of Landscape approaches, in addition to ways to prevent and address forced labour (see Innovation).
This year also saw the continued evolution of policy on an international level which will affect the cocoa sector directly (see Technical Advocacy), including the publication of the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D) proposal which would require companies operating within the EU to conduct human rights due diligence. ICI continued its work with the Cocoa Coalition to advocate for robust EU legislation that will bring real benefits to cocoa-growing communities. We also participated in the US Department of Labour-led Child Labour in Cocoa Coordination Group discussions, that aim to define a new framework to shape future work of all actors in tackling child labour. Discussions will continue in 2023 with ICI taking on the role of Coordinating Technical Partner.
We look forward to continuing this work. As an organisation, we are filled with hope that the actions of the collective to reduce child labour and strengthen child protection and human rights in cocoa-producing areas will be realised.
Matthias Lange, ICI Executive Director