Learning instead of working hard: opportunities for children through fair trade / a year with the GEPA Cocoa Plus award

Wuppertal (ots) –

A year with the GEPA Cocoa Plus Prize – how fair trade can protect children in the global south and offer them better educational opportunities, GEPA shows by using cocoa and coffee as an example of the UN Day of Action against exploitative child labor (June 12). Fair prices and long-term cooperation are the key to parents earning enough to be able to send their children to school. GEPA CEO Peter Schaumberger: “In times of rising cost of living for smallholder families in the global south due to the war in Europe, this is more important than ever. Smallholder families in the global south are much more affected by this than we are.”

Cocoa Plus price

For the benefit of children instead of businesses, last year GEPA raised its minimum price for organic cocoa to $ 3,500 – 44.2 percent above the average world market price for 2021. “The ‘cocoa plus price’ provides guaranteed downward protection, an important contribution to improve the situation of the cocoa user families of our trading partners, “said Peter Schaumberger, GEPA’s CEO. On average, GEPA even paid $ 3,700 per year. tons of organic cocoa, 52.5 percent more than the world market price. In total, last year it transferred about $ 4.5 million to its eight cocoa partners in Africa and Latin America. On the other hand, 1,057 tonnes of cocoa beans were bought and, as semi-finished products, 120 tonnes of organic cocoa butter from its partners. 98 percent of the cocoa beans are organic.

Combine child labor avoidance with educational opportunities

GEPA works according to the ten principles of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). It combines the avoidance of exploitative child labor (principle 5) with the promotion of education and further education (principle 8). In this way, better income opportunities can also be created in the long run. Promoting quality education is also specified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals 4. This generally helps to reduce exploitative child labor in the future.

Short, transparent supply chain significantly reduces risk

A short, transparent supply chain also plays an important role in minimizing the risk of exploitative child labor. GEPA can directly track the path from the bean to the package or the chocolate bar using batch numbers and delivery notes. The supply chain is short, as the fair trade company usually trades directly with the cooperatives. Through regular reciprocal visits, video conferencing, telephone and e-mails, training and further training activities, GEPA is in constant contact with its partner cooperatives in the global south. This way, any issues can be discussed with you in advance. In addition, GEPA works with six monitoring and certification systems such as the WFTO Guarantee System, FLO Cert and Naturland Fair. Further information about the supply chain (eg cocoa) at gepa.de/lernen-statt-schuften (https://www.gepa.de/home/melden/welttag-gegen-kinderarbeit-lernen-statt-schuften.html) .

Sample coffee: Sol y Café (Peru)

GEPA co-finances the all-day school for the cooperative Sol y Café through its coffee imports. This school has a model character and is also open to children of non-members. 132 students are currently attending school. Parents pay for meals and transportation; the cooperative funds additional teachers.

School with a model grade: Education for sustainability

The range of courses is varied and also includes musical support and practical gardening. Even environmental protection is on the agenda; This is how children learn from an early age what sustainability means. Principal Yael Samamé Alarcón: “Our children have a whole program with which they first learn how to grow, how to produce, how to use the resources and how these resources make sustainable management possible. Because they have to learn that they are not just consuming , but give back to the environment what the environment gives you. “With support from GEPA, climate protection will soon also become a school subject. The cooperative is currently working on modules and is in dialogue with GEPA about them. (More info in this video: https: // youtu.be/NsRUTGhO35k).

Studied and worked as a dentist

Leticia Vilchez shows how a child from a coffee farmer family can seize new opportunities. She works as a dentist at the coffee partner Sol y Café. Her parents are members of the cooperative. Through fair prices on their coffee, they got a good income and were thus able to finance Leticia’s studies. Their knowledge now benefits the cooperative again because it treats the members in its own practice. Leticia: “I’m very passionate about it. What I enjoy the most is seeing the patient with a satisfied face”. gepa.de/leticia-vilchez

Examples of cocoa: gebana Togo and COOPROAGRO (Dominican Republic)

According to a NORC study from the University of Chicago, 1.5 million children in West Africa are being exploited in cocoa cultivation. The organization gebana Togo shows how things can be done differently. With the GEPA fair trade award, gebana Togo supports schools in buying furniture and teaching aids. In some cases, gebana Togo pays the tuition fees for the secondary schools for the children of the farming families. Due to the higher income from GEPA and fair trade, the cooperative COOPROAGRO (Dominican Republic) was able to expand a school with a new building. In addition, all the children of the farming families get new school equipment after the long holidays. Adriana Olgin and her cousin Raul both come from cocoa farming families. The video shows how they benefit from fair trade: https://youtu.be/O0yItX5VycU

Specifically exploitative child labor

Around the world, 160 million children are exploited: they carry heavy burdens, handle dangerous tools, are even enslaved or forced into prostitution. A distinction must be made between helping in the parent company: In general, children under the age of 15 are allowed to help in the company outside the school if they perform light work according to the criteria of Fairtrade International and the International Labor Organization (ILO). More information in the GEPA position paper As part of the lieferkettengesetz.de campaign, GEPA is campaigning for an EU supply chain law. All too often, European companies with unscrupulous business practices make a significant contribution to dangerous working conditions such as exploitative child labor in the world.

As a fair trade pioneer, GEPA has stood for the transparency and credibility of its work for 47 years. We operate as the largest European fair trade organization with cooperatives and socially engaged private companies from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Fair prices and long-term trade relationships give partners more planning security. Behind GEPA are MISEREOR, Bread for the World, Working Group of Evangelical Youth in Germany (aej), Association of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) and the children’s mission work “Die Sternsinger”. GEPA has received several awards for its services for fair trade and sustainability, including the TOP3 at the German Sustainability Award in the “Corporate Partnerships 2020” category for its many years of collaboration with tea partner Tea Promoters India and the “CSR Prize of the Federal Government 2020” in the category “Responsible Supply Chain Management”. GEPA is one of the few companies in Germany that has had itself checked under the WFTO’s guarantee system. More information about prices and prices as well as about GEPA in general can be found at www.gepa.de


– World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)
– European Fair Trade Association (EFTA)
– Fair Trade Forum (FFH)

Press contact:

GEPA – Fair Trade Company

Barbara Schimmelpfennig
press secretary

Phone: 0202 – 266 83 60
Fax: 0202 – 266 83 10
Mail: presse@gepa.de

GEPA sti 1
42327 Wuppertal

Original content from: GEPA mbH, transmitted by news aktuell
Original message: https://www.presseportal.de/pm/43796/5245027

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