Meiji, an international food company based in Japan, has become the first Japanese company to join the International Cocoa Initiative as a contributing partner, to address the issues of child labour in the cocoa supply chain.

Meiji sources its cocoa from all over the world and started farmer support programmes, Meiji Cocoa Support, in 2006 to improve the livelihoods of farmers and cocoa-growing communities. ICI and Meiji will work closely together in the coming years to advance the company’s efforts to address and prevent child labour in its cocoa supply chain.

“I am proud to announce that Meiji Co., Ltd. has become the first Japanese member of the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), the world’s leading organisation in combatting child labour in cocoa. I strongly believe that by being a member of ICI and by sharing knowledge and experience among its members, we will together make a significant advance towards solving the problems of child labour in the cocoa industry,” said Mr. Katsunari Matsuda, President and Representative Director of Meiji Co., Ltd.

“In 2017, Meiji joined the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) to stop deforestation in Ghana. Through its participation in ICI and CFI, Meiji will continue in its efforts to tackle the major issues in cocoa production so as to arrive at a truly sustainable cocoa sector,” he continued.

“We are really pleased to welcome Meiji as our latest member and with their desire to be part of the collective effort to tackle child labour in cocoa,” said Nick Weatherill, Executive Director at the International Cocoa Initiative. “We welcome their enthusiasm to assist cocoa-growing communities and believe they will be a valuable addition to our multi-stakeholder initiative. We look forward to working together to increase child protection and tackle child labour.”

“As we seek to scale up effective approaches to address and prevent child labour, in line with our 2021-2026 strategy, it is encouraging to see companies from across the world making a commitment to addressing sustainability and human rights issues in their supply chain.”