After the German supply chain law came into force, the federal government wants to set an example for fair production of cocoa and textiles in West Africa. When implementing the new rules, it is important that they help people “at the beginning of the supply chain”, said Development Minister Svenja Schulze before a joint trip with Labor Minister Hubertus Heil.

The two SPD ministers left for Ghana and the Ivory Coast on the UN “World Day of Social Justice”. The destination of the five-day trip includes places of cocoa and textile production.

“Anyone who does business globally, whoever makes global profits, must also assume global responsibility,” said Heil. The supply chain law came into force on January 1 after a long struggle. Businesses now have a duty to exercise due diligence to respect human rights throughout production. Among other things, they have to submit reports. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) in Eschborn is responsible for the controls.

Companies face fines for violations

Those affected can also report to the control authority themselves and complain online if they suspect violations by a company, as Bafa spokesman Nikolai Hoberg told the German Press Agency. The set of rules is still in its infancy. According to Hoberg, his authority will only check whether the company reports are available from mid-2024. In the event of violations, companies face fines.

Ghana and Ivory Coast produce around 70 percent of the world’s cocoa. Because of the fall in cocoa prices on the world market in recent years, many farming families are using their children to cultivate the cocoa. Development experts keep saying that there is often child labor in chocolate on the German market.

Ghana is also one of the world’s largest importers of second-hand clothing, not least from Europe, which has partially pushed back domestic production.