Chocoholics received good news this past week, with the report out of Ghana that consumers can now trace their cocoa beans straight to the source with a new tagging tool developed by CI World Helveta and Armajaro. With recent reports that employees linked to Hershey may be victims of human trafficking and other forms of abuse in both Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, the announcement from CI World and Armajaro is a welcome addition to help monitor the industry. While tagging may not reveal the exact profiles of workers, the presence of a monitoring body is sure to keep out some of the ills that plague the industry and at the very least allows consumers and watch-dogs to trace sacks of cocoa beans to areas where there are reports of abused child workers and victims of human trafficking.
CI World is a specialist in tracking commodities in supply chains and Armajaro is a codmmodities supply company, focused on sugar, coffee, and cocoa. The two entities partnered up in order to make cocoa beans traceable and in order to help consumers feel at ease about where their aphrodisiacs come from.
The initiative is being implemented in 4 districts in Ghana and all along the way, the CI World workers will be monitoring the Armajaro production process.
"Using handheld devices, Armajaro workers will scan uniquely numbered barcoded tags, secured to the individual cocoa sacks, at each stage of the supply chain. This data will then be uploaded into Helveta’s central online system to allow Armajaro to reconcile, analyse and share information about the cocoa to improve overall traceability throughout the supply chain," said the press release.
The goal of the initiative is to increase transparency and, presumably, to prevent further flare-ups in the cocoa industry. With recent concerns about the sustainability and labor practices in the chocolate industry, this news comes at a good time and should soothe those with an addiction to both the product and social good. Props to CI World and Armajaro, but watch out Hershey!
[Image: flickr user cstrom]