In July 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and its Subcommittee on Human Rights held a joint hearing on cocoa and coffee, exploring the role of the European Union – one of the biggest importers of cocoa – in relation to the consumption and production of these agricultural products. 

The majority of speakers called for firmer action on tackling child labour and forest degradation, including through European regulation.

ICI Executive Director Nick Weatherill spoke at the hearing. As well as giving an overview and trajectory of the problem, he presented the multi-stakeholder nature of ICI, explained the impact of its prevention and response actions, outlined the supply chain due diligence systems in place (Child Labour Monitoring & Remediation Systems, or CLMRS), and explored the challenges and opportunities that the scale-up of due diligence systems presents for ICI and the cocoa sector.

Voices from several NGOs, UN agencies, private-sector companies and EU politicians reaffirmed the complexity of the problem facing the cocoa sector and other agricultural supply chains. Participants considered that mandatory due diligence – if designed carefully and appropriately – could be a supportive tool in the fight against child labour, including by ensuring a level playing field for all companies to manage their supply chains responsibly.