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Volcafe joins ILO Child Labour Platform, broadening coalition to end child labour

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Image: Public Domain, AU UN IST PHOTO / Tobin Jones via Flickr

Green coffee merchant joins leading initiative from ILO to work toward the eradication of child labour.

Volcafe has joined the International Labour Organization’s Child Labour Platform (CLP), as part of our continuing efforts to end child labour in coffee supply chains. The CLP is a leading initiative that brings together businesses to work toward the eradication of child labour in supply chains.

As part of our CLP membership, Volcafe joins forces with several industry peers, including coffee traders and roasting companies such as Tchibo and Nestlé, in the ILO-led inter-agency project ‘Ending Child Labour in Supply Chains. Addressing the root causes of child labour in supply chains through an area-based approach’. The project, funded by the European Commission, primarily aims at addressing the root causes of child labour in three leading coffee origins: Honduras, Uganda, and Vietnam. Volcafe has a strong presence in each of these countries and will bring local knowledge to the project.

The Platform offers members a chance to exchange with stakeholders, identify obstacles to action, catalyse cooperative approaches on due diligence, and share knowledge and good practices.

‘Volcafe is excited to be part of the ILO’s Child Labour Platform and its coffee sector initiative. We want to share our experiences, learn from others, and act in concert with all key stakeholders in the drive to prevent and ultimately end the scourge of child labour,’ says Tim Scharrer, Chief Operating Officer and Regional Director Europe and North America of Volcafe.

One of the three pillars of Volcafe’s sustainability strategy focuses on responsible citizenship and includes our work against child labour. We have partnered with customers, NGOs and local authorities, and other stakeholders to carry out a variety of projects that seek to address root causes of child labour – supporting farmers to improve their income and promoting children’s access to education – while building approaches to identify, remediate and monitor cases.

Working with partners, Volcafe has constructed or renovated dozens of schools in coffee origin countries including Colombia, Peru, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. In Costa Rica and Guatemala, we have run special day camps where coffee farmers and workers can safely leave their children during peak harvest periods.

Our Volcafe Way farmer support programme – active in 11 countries – includes over 250 field team members who regularly conduct trainings with farmers on topics ranging from good agricultural practices to the necessity to prevent child labour. Our field teams also provide on-the-ground farm assessments in our Volcafe RS value chains, which feed into our broader approach to addressing risks of child labour in coffee supply chains.

About Volcafe

Established in 1851, Volcafe is one of the world’s largest coffee merchants, specialising in worldwide green coffee procurement, processing in origin countries and distribution to roaster partners. Volcafe provides access to all the major coffee producing origins and supplies beans for over 66 billion cups a year. For more on Volcafe, visit www.volcafe.com

About the ILO Child Labour Platform

The Child Labour Platform is the leading business initiative to eradicate child labour in supply chains. It provides concrete solutions for buyers, factory owners and suppliers by supporting member companies through a comprehensive process of due diligence across tiers. This includes support for embedding strong policies and good business practice, measuring impact and addressing root causes through meaningful local and global dialogue with governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations and other stakeholders. The Platform is co-chaired by the International Organisation of Employers and the International Trade Union Confederation, with affiliates in 150 and 163 countries respectively. With the International Labour Organization serving as its Secretariat, the Platform benefits from its authoritative expertise on International Labour Standards and a global network of governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations active in 187 member States. The ILO also brings hard to-find intelligence on emerging trends on child labour and decent work, allowing businesses to anticipate and adapt to fast moving circumstances in sourcing countries. The Platform also gives businesses the opportunity to make a practical contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7 through its direct linkage to the lead coordinating body on this issue, Alliance 8.7 (www.alliance87.org).

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Marie Renou-Ullrich, Head of Marketing and Communications, email hidden; JavaScript is required

Katherine Torres, ILO Senior Programme and Operations Officer, Supply Chains, email hidden; JavaScript is required

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