6 April 2023

Make sure your chocolate's background is sweet with proposed modern slavery legislation tabled

| Claire Fenwicke
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easter egg hunt

We’ve been asked to check the ethical background of our chocolate this Easter. Photo: File.

What ingredients do you think go into your Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies?

Be Slavery Free has released its annual Chocolate Scorecard, assessing companies that produce and sell 95 per cent of the world’s chocolate.

Co-director Carolyn Kitto said it was important to make sure modern slavery wasn’t included in the process of making the sweet treats we choose to buy.

“We eat chocolate for pleasure and indulgence – but there are other ingredients like child labour, extreme poverty and environmental destruction,” she said.

“We ask consumers to preference chocolate without these ingredients with the help of the Chocolate Scorecard.”

Original Beans received the ‘Good Egg’ Award for leading the chocolate industry on policy around traceability and transparency, living income, child and forced labour, deforestation and climate, agroforestry and agrichemical management.

Recognisable brands Ben and Jerry’s, Whittaker’s, Nestle, Hershey, Ferrero, Mars Wrigley and Lindt didn’t score as favourably, but were acknowledged for making progress on implementing policies.

Companies starting to implement good policies included Starbucks, Meiji and Godiva, while brands such as Kellogg’s and Glico were identified as “needs to catch up with the industry”.

Unilever (Paddle Pop and Cornetto), Mondelez International (Cadbury and Toblerone) did not respond or complete the survey.

While Australian brands Haigh’s and Darrell Lea didn’t form part of the Chocolate Scorecard research, Be Slavery Free clarified they would both be given green ticks.

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This comes as Greens MLA Jo Clay tabled the ACT Modern Slavery Bill, which aims to end this illegal crime that can infiltrate the goods we purchase.

Ms Clay said it’s estimated about 50 million people globally live in slavery today, and while it may look different to past forms, it is still a current problem.

“It is still incredibly real and often takes on the form of forced marriage, sexual exploitation, forced labour or human trafficking,” she said.

“It exists across industries as well. Hospitality, agriculture, cleaning, construction and the textile, clothing and footwear industries are just a few areas where this is particularly prevalent.”

The ACT Modern Slavery Bill proposes to establish an Anti-Slavery Commissioner within the ACT Human Rights Commission, and to further focus on eliminating modern slavery from ACT Government supply chains.

Ms Clay said both the Commonwealth and NSW already had laws that responded to this issue, and the Territory needed to catch up.

“Canberrans care about the wellbeing of those in our community, where products come from, where they end up and the welfare of those who are involved in these supply chains,” she said.

“This Bill is an important first step in legislating to effectively respond to modern slavery in the ACT and I look forward to the important community conversation this legislation will initiate.”

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The Bill proposes additional requirements for the ACT Government directorates and Territory entities to submit voluntary modern slavery statements to the Commonwealth, which is already required for private companies with turnovers exceeding $100 million as well as NSW state-owned corporations and the Federal Government.

It would also make changes within the Procurement Act to ensure tenderers are taking steps to identify and mitigate risks of modern slavery when “providing goods, services or works to the ACT Government or territory entities”.

Businesses that apply for government tenders worth more than $25,000 would be required to provide information about the risk of modern slavery occurring in their supply chains for goods and services.

Ms Clay quoted Ms Kitto when she tabled the Bill before the Legislative Assembly during the March sitting weeks.

“There are two things that are not political – the first is chocolate … the second is ending modern slavery,” she said.

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Capital Retro10:35 am 09 Apr 23

A well meaning but unrealistic proposal. Perfect for the Greens to pursue.

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