Business Daily Media

The Modern Slavery Bill is a start, but it won't guarantee us sweeter chocolate

The Modern Slavery Bill is a start, but it won't guarantee us sweeter chocolate

Is the Modern Slavery Bill at present before the Senate onerous?

It is if you are Nestle, because it might make your product more expensive. Or so it suggests in its submission to the Senate inquiry[1].

The bill will require businesses with more than A$100 million in turnover to report annually on their actions to address slavery risks in their supply chains[2].

Cocoa beans are the main ingredient in chocolate. Most come from West Africa, mainly from the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The low prices paid to producers mean many harvest their cocoa using child labour and child slave labour.

Where chocolate comes from

Most child slaves on cocoa farms[3] come from Mali and Burkina Faso, two of the poorest nations on Earth. The children, some as young as ten, are sent by their families or trafficked by agents with the promise of money. They are made to work long hours for little or no money.

While our chocolate companies have long known that children and child slaves pick their cocoa, it continues to happen to this day[4].

Read more: Should Australia have a Modern Slavery Act?[5]

In 2001 a deal was reached to end the practice. Known as the Harkin-Engel Protocol[6] in recognition of the two US senators who masterminded the agreement between the governments of West Africa, the United States, the International Labour Organisation and the cocoa industry, it has notched up achievements, but has not yet completely ended child slave labour.

It’s not yet slave-free

Nestle, which once paid insufficient attention to child labour, claims to have become one of the leaders in rooting it out[7]. It touts its transparency policy[8] as one of the world’s best.

Yet Nestle and other companies are complaining about the costs. The bill imposes none beyond the costs of examining the producer’s supply chain and preparing reports. The bill imposes no penalties for non-compliance[9].

Read more: We analysed 101 companies' statements on modern slavery – here's what we found[10]

It’s an approach known as “smart legislation”. It uses roaring (public pressure) rather than biting (hefty fines) to engender change.

It might not work. Companies certainly respond to public pressure, as Nestle did in 2010 after an infamous YouTube video of an office worker biting into an orangutan finger instead of a KitKat.

It said that from then on its Australian chocolate factories would use only segregated, certified sustainable palm oil[11] that didn’t involve the destruction of rainforest.

Read more: Why businesses fail to detect modern slavery at work[12]

But this year Nestle was banned from the industry and non government organisation run Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil[13] because of its failure to submit reports.

It said it was committed to improving supply chain practices “through intervention on the ground, rather than relying on audits or certificates”.

‘Smart’ might not be smart enough

The bill is certainly an improvement on what has gone before, but it is far from certain that “smart legislation” will be enough.

In the meantime it will help if we vote with our mouths and buy chocolate certified as slave-free[14] because it is made from cocoa sourced from outside West Africa.

But it is hardly a perfect solution.

Authors: John Dumay, Associate Professor - Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Macquarie University

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-modern-slavery-bill-is-a-start-but-it-wont-guarantee-us-sweeter-chocolate-102765

Business Daily Media Business Development

How Microsoft's Activision Blizzard takeover will drive metaverse gaming into the mass market

Ready Player 1,000,000,0001?Sergey NivensMicrosoft was positioning itself as one of the pioneers of the metaverse even before its US$75 billion deal to buy online gaming giant Activision Bli...

Theo Tzanidis, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, University of the West of Scotland - avatar Theo Tzanidis, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, University of the West of Scotland

Some of the super-rich want to pay more tax – but society cannot afford to depend on them

Shutterstock/PilgujDemands for the super wealthy to pay more taxes are not new. But they don’t usually come from billionaires or millionaires.Yet on January 19 2022, around 100 of the ...

Peter Bloom, Professor of Management, University of Essex - avatar Peter Bloom, Professor of Management, University of Essex

A killer app for the metaverse? Fill it with AI avatars of ourselves – so we don't need to go there

Ready avatar one?Athitat ShinagowinBig numbers coming. Microsoft’s US$75 billion (£55 billion) acquisition of Activision Blizzard has landed – true to Call of Duty vernacul...

Alex Connock, Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford, University of Oxford - avatar Alex Connock, Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford, University of Oxford

Labelling Equipment; Prayers Have Been Heard and, Answered

If you are an instrumental part of a management team for a business that now requires labels for their products or goods, then traditionally you’d have had one of three choices, if the...

Business Daily Media - avatar Business Daily Media

Leading Australian Microsoft partner Satalyst acquired by Canon

Satalyst, one of the leading Microsoft cloud and security partners in Australia, has today announced that effective immediately it has been acquired by Canon Australia. Satalyst will joi...

Business Daily Media - avatar Business Daily Media

How Timeline Maker Helps Business Owners On Their Targets

With many businesses today, the challenge is to make the audience know what you are all about. You can never go wrong with a website or an online presence for it is one of the most effecti...

Business Daily Media - avatar Business Daily Media



NewsServices.com

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion