Today, GES is pleased to present its new report Combatting child labour – Investor expectations and corporate good practice. The report is a part of GES Business Conduct Engagement addressing child labour in the cocoa sector. In parallel to the report being made public, it is also being sent to cocoa companies and stakeholders to the cocoa industry.

For the publication of the report, GES coordinated an Investor statement of support of the expectations set out in the report. We are very pleased to announce that sixty (60) institutional investors signed the statement demonstrating that there is a high level of interest in the investor community to see further efforts made to combat child labour in the cocoa supply chain.

The report recognises that significant efforts are being made by the industry, governments and other stakeholders in order to improve the situation, but still, more than two million children are estimated to work in hazardous conditions in the West African countries Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are also the worlds’ leading cocoa producing countries, together accounting for almost 70 per cent of cocoa production worldwide. Since the Harkin-Engel protocol in 2001, the industry has made pledges to stop such practices.

The report puts forward specific investor expectations for cocoa companies to (i) roll-out systems to identify and remediate cases of child labour in the cocoa supply chain, and; (ii) provide support to cocoa-growing farmers so that they may move towards a living income.

Also included in the report is a benchmark of seven of the world’s leading cocoa companies, based on their alignment with the investor expectations. Good practice examples are also presented in order to encourage further discussions on how the expectations may be fulfilled.

It is our hope that the report clearly communicates what investors expect from the cocoa industry, but also that it provides valuable input on how further improvements can be made.
Based on the report, we are inviting cocoa companies to further discuss potential next steps towards the realisation of the expectations. We are hoping for increased dialogue and eventual full disclosure on impacts of the many initiatives cocoa companies are carrying out to combat child labour and raise farmer income among cocoa farmers in West Africa.

For more information, please contact Stina Nilsson, Senior Engagement Manager at GES ( who leads the engagement with the cocoa sector.

To access the report go to Publications/Reports