Cargill set to appeal Brazilian court verdict on cocoa child labour case

Cargill is reportedly set to appeal against a judgement from a regional court in Brazil, ordering it to pay $120,000 as a penalty for buying cocoa which is alleged to have come from farms where child or forced labour had been identified.

The report, originally carried by Reuters, stated the the business disagreed with the verdict in the 39th labour court in the state of Bahia, where the business was also said to have been instructed to insert clauses in its future contracts within the region for any commercial activity with enterprises where such human rights issues had been a known factor.

However, as covered by the Brazil Reporter publication, Cargill responded to court case held last week, stating that it did not tolerate any form of human trafficking or child labour in its supply chains – which it noted are a core part of its Cocoa Promise framework.

The company explained to Confectionery Production that by decision of the Brazilian Superior Labour Court that the case remains under judicial conditions, so it could not comment on specifics surrounding the case, but confirmed that it is set to appeal the decision at a higher court.

Consequently, the company issued a general statement: “Cargill does not tolerate human trafficking, forced or child labor in its operations or supply chain. We take steps to understand potential issues, while continuing to actively work to protect human rights, with a firm commitment to protecting children’s rights around the world. We support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the UN to promote decent work for all, including the goal of eliminating child labor. In Brazil, all suppliers are checked against government embargo lists and if violations are identified, we take immediate action to suspend the supplier.

“This goal will be achieved as part of the “Cargill Cocoa Promise” programme, which includes regions of origin in Brazil. Cargill is also a signatory to the multisectoral initiative “Cocoa Action”, a pre-competitive action that aligns different actors in the chain to catalyze efforts and address priority problems for cocoa sustainability.

“In more than 56 years present in Brazil, Cargill has demonstrated this commitment to observing and complying with all current laws applicable to its business. We take this commitment seriously and require our suppliers and partners to join us in prioritising the safety, well-being and dignity of individuals.”


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