Over 2.1 million children in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana work in cocoa fields, where they face hazardous conditions that may imperil their health, access to education, and future livelihood. This week in the District of Columbia, leaders from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana − which together produce 60 percent of the world’s cocoa − gathered for the annual Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group meeting to discuss ways to end the worst forms of child labor.

This initiative originates from the 2001 signing of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, a historic international agreement among industry and governments. Industry representatives and the governments of the United States, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana reaffirmed their commitment with the 2010 Joint Declaration and Framework of Action, which aims to reduce the number of children engaged in hazardous forms of labor by 70 percent by 2020.

Over the last 15 years, we’ve seen hard-fought progress and learned important lessons. As the world’s leading funder of projects to combat child labor worldwide, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairsis committed to using these lessons to realize the visionary objectives of the Harkin-Engel Protocol.

Lesson 1: Progress is not only a moral imperative; it makes economic sense as well.

The 2010 Joint Declaration and Framework of Action is grounded in a shared conviction that producing cocoa with the worst forms of child labor is morally unacceptable. But it’s more than that: it is also bad business. Industries thrive when they invest in the long-term economic sustainability of their operations, and that means rooting out child labor from their supply chains. And when more children are...Click here to read the rest of the blog post.