Mr Piper was commenting on the release of the STOP THE TRAFFIK Australian Coalition and Baptist World Aid Australia A Matter of Taste report this week.
"The Report acknowledges that the change needed is a shared responsibility. It reflects the work being done by NGOs and industry to improve work standards and ensure a global cocoa supply.
"Improving the sustainability and wellbeing of the cocoa growers, their families and communities and their livelihoods for the long-term, is industry’s goal. Of course, there is more to be done.
"Australian (and global) major chocolate manufacturers are all committed to full sustainably sourced cocoa for their local and global production, albeit with varying timelines. This progress towards full sustainability is positive news.
"To achieve this long-term sustainability objective, industry is playing a major role in collaboration with governments, NGOs, cocoa farming communities and other partners in the supply chain – beyond basic certification. The Australian and global chocolate industry is investing in local community development both socially and economically, in cocoa farming and agricultural practices to improve productivity and yields, child protection, access to education and training and labour monitoring and remediation systems," Mr Piper said.
"There is no denying this is a complex issue; however, with each year, collectively, significant progress is being achieved. This progress is making a real difference on-the-ground, which flows through to the chocolate products consumers enjoy. The value of the collective effort is paramount, as is the time needed to effect change.
"Industry's ongoing investment aims to continually improve the lives and livelihood of cocoa farmers, their families and communities and to strengthen their future," Mr Piper said.
Contact: Tim Piper – 0411 430 301
Tim Piper is Victorian Head and Principal Advocate Confectionery Sector Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which represents the confectionery industry through its management of the Ai Group Confectionery Sector.