We are pleased to announce that UTZ is now the first organization to join the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) as a Non-Profit Contributing Partner. ICI promotes child protection in cocoa-growing communities and works to ensure a better future for children and their families.

We are proud to be the first Non-Profit Contributing Partner of ICI. This will not only strengthen the relationship between our two organizations but also contribute to having an even bigger impact on farming communities and children in particular.” Han de Groot, Executive Director at UTZ.

UTZ and ICI have already been working together since 2013 to make sure the UTZ certification and therefore the UTZ Code of Conduct followed by cocoa farmers around the world, addresses the issues related to child labor in certified farms. As a result of this work, UTZ has introduced the approach of Prevention, Monitoring and Remediation in its Code of Conduct. This approach is based on the ICI’s model for Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation and was developed with extensive input from ICI.

Joining the International Cocoa Initiative will allow us to scale up such models and further broaden our reach. “UTZ has been a solid partner of ICI’s for many years, but this new agreement will take our collaboration to a new level,” says Nick Weatherill, Executive Director of ICI. “We believe this partnership represents a new way for ICI to partner with a wider circle of stakeholders which will be both innovative and impactful. That’s especially so given the intended merger between UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance, offering even greater prospects to improve the lives of even more cocoa farmers and their families.”

More information about the International Cocoa Initiative can be found on their website: www.cocoainitiative.org.