No Child Labour Policy
COCO CHOCOLATIER (The Company) does not accept child labour and works actively against it in support of the United Nations (U.N.) Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Minimum Age Convention no. 138 (1973) and ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour no. 182 (1999). The Company is against all forms of exploitation of children in any of its global operations and facilities and does not provide employment to children before they have reached the legal age to have completed their compulsory education, as defined by the relevant authorities. The Company respects different cultures and values in countries where The Company operates and sources its products, but does not compromise on the basic requirements regarding the Rights of the Child.
The Company expects its suppliers, business partners and associates (collectively referred to as “Suppliers”) to have and uphold similar standards and abide by country-governing laws in countries wherein they operate. The violation of this principle will cause serious action, including discontinuation of the business relationship.
Child labour is a violation of a human right and it is recognised and defined by international instruments. International standards distinguish acceptable and unacceptable work for children at different ages and “child labour” should not be confused with “youth employment” or “student work”. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Minimum Age Convention no. 138 (1973) and ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour no. 182 (1999) provide the framework for national law to prescribe a minimum age for admission to employment or work. Lower ages might be permitted for temporary periods of time in countries with less developed economic and educational facilities. The priority, nevertheless, is to eliminate the worst forms of child labour performed by children under the age of 18.
Forms of child labour are considered but not limited to: any form of slavery (trafficking of children, debt bondage, forced and compulsory labour, use of children in armed conflict, prostitution, production of pornography etc.); the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities (trafficking of drugs); work that is likely to harm the health of the child.
All actions to avoid child labour shall be implemented by taking the child’s best interests into account.
The Company implementation of the policy is under the responsibility of the human resources department and the security staff, who do not permit minors to enter any facility as employees. Employment contracts and other records will document all relevant details of the employees, including age, and they shall be open to verification by any authorised personnel or relevant statutory body.
The Company requires that all suppliers and other partners shall recognise the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that the suppliers and partners shall comply with all relevant national and international laws, regulations and provisions applicable in the country of production in this regard. Suppliers and partners are obliged to take the appropriate measures to ensure that no child labour occurs at suppliers’ and their sub-contractors’ places of production. If child labour is found in any place of production, The Company will require the suppliers to implement a corrective policy plan. If the corrective policy plan is not implemented within the agreed time-frame, or if repeated violations occur, The Company might terminate all business with the suppliers concerned. The suppliers shall effectively communicate to all its sub-contractors, as well as to its own co-workers, the content of The Company’s Child Labour Policy, and ensure that all measures required are implemented accordingly.
The Company shall develop awareness and understanding of the causes and consequences of child labour in all its facilities and for all its employees. The Company’s geographically distant suppliers might require a higher level of vigilance and The Company should clearly identify and state the policy’s requirements providing a “Supplier Code of Conduct” with which suppliers are expected to comply and it may be imposed as a contractual obligation. If The Company engages private employment agencies, it shall ensure that such agencies do not practice any form of child slavery or forced labour.
The Company shall at any stage of employment keep clear and complete track of all the documents and records of its facilities and employees, in some areas of the world The Company might require the assistance of non-governmental organisations, development organisations or UN agencies.
REPORTING CHILD LABOUR
All COCO CHOCOLATIER staff members are encouraged to report any case of non-compliance with the policy. The employees should be aware that they have a moral and ethical duty to report such instances and should not fear retaliation. The Company recognises the importance of confidentiality and could grant anonymity to the complainants who wish so, giving that such information does not impede the investigation or resolution of the dispute. There should be no limitation to the filing of complaints, in terms of accessibility to all employees and quantity. The Company will make sure that the employees know where and to whom they can refer for denounces or complaints. The Company ensures that appropriate measures and punishment will be applied in case of non-compliance with such policy.
All suppliers are obliged to keep COCO CHOCOLATIER informed at all times about all places of production/ work sites (including their sub-contractors). Any undisclosed production centres/ work sites found would constitute a violation of this code of conduct.
Through the General Purchasing Conditions for the supply of products to The Company COCO CHOCOLATIER has reserved the right to make unannounced visits at any time to all places of production/ work sites (including their sub-contractors) for goods intended for supply to The Company. The Company furthermore reserves the right to assign, at its sole discretion, an independent third party to conduct inspections in order to ensure compliance with The Company’s Child Labour policy.
REMEDIATION AND PUNISHMENT
Violations of the No Child Labour policy may lead to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment/partnership. Disciplinary process will be undertaken in accordance with all applicable local laws and other legal requirements. The Company shall take immediate and effective measures to prevent and eliminate any form of child labour. In case The Company and /or any of its supplier is accused or found guilty of negligence in assuring the respect of this policy, it will resolve the matter as soon as possible and provide remediation to the parties victim of such negligence or mistake.
Qualified organisations/ experts might be involved in the development of a responsible solution that is in the best long-term interests of the children. The Company (and any supplier involved) will agree a corrective action plan, which may comprise of the following actions:
- Collate a list of all potential child labourers and young workers
- Seek advice and help from a recognised local non-governmental organisation that deals with child labour or the welfare of children
- Develop a remediation plan that secures the children’s education and protects their economic well-being, in consultation with The Company and where possible a local NGO, and in consultation with and respecting the views of the child as well as the family of the child.
- Explain the legal requirements and restrictions on working ages to the children and assure them that, if they wish, they will be employed when they reach working age
- Understand the children’s desires and explore the opportunities for them to re-enter education.
- Whether the child contributes to the livelihoods of their family or they are self-dependent, his or her wage should continue be paid until they reach working age, or until an alternative long-term solution has been agreed with the child and their family (for example employment of an unemployed adult family member in place of the child labourer).
- Ensure that the child worker has adequate accommodation and living conditions.
- Document all actions
- Develop processes to prevent recurrence
1 Art 3: “All actions concerning the child shall take full account of his or her best interests.”; Art 32.1: “The right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development”.
2 Child labour, as defined by the ILO Convention (1999) is “work by children under the age of 12; work by children under the age of 15 that prevents school attendance; and work by children under of age of 18 that is hazardous to the physical or mental health of the child”.
3 Save the Children (http://www.savethechildren.net/) has produced guidance on how to carry out interviews with child workers, and has contacts with local NGOs, with local knowledge and expertise in child labour issues, in many sourcing countries.