Modern Slavery Policy
Whittaker’s makes all of our world class chocolate at our one factory in Porirua, New Zealand using high quality ingredients from around the world. As a family-owned business with a strong commitment to ethical business practices, we recognise the importance of addressing the risks of modern slavery in global supply chains, especially the cocoa supply chain.
Whittaker’s is committed to doing business in a way that respects human rights and is compliant with all local and international laws. We oppose all forms of modern slavery and commit to progressively taking active steps to minimise the risk, to the extent possible, of modern slavery occurring in our direct operations, supply chain or any other business relationship we have.
Partnership with trusted third parties is a cornerstone of our approach
A key challenge for us is our geographical distance and relatively small size within the global cocoa landscape. In this context, the foundation of our approach to ensuring an ethical and sustainable cocoa supply chain is to partner with trusted third party organisations like Rainforest Alliance and Agro Eco, which work with cocoa farmers on-the-ground and provide assurances around compliance.
Our investment in 100% Rainforest Alliance certified Ghanaian cocoa beans means cocoa farmers earn more and receive practical support. It also means Rainforest Alliance conducts ongoing auditing and reporting on compliance with expected ethical and environmental standards, which we monitor closely.
Building direct relationships and improving traceability of cocoa is a key part of the solution
We are also committed to building direct relationships with our cocoa suppliers in Ghana, including making regular visits and directly investing in additional projects to improve conditions for our cocoa farmers’ communities.
Through our Whittaker’s Cocoa Improvement Programme in Samoa we provide the certainty and hands-on support required for our cocoa farmers there to build sustainable livelihoods and in doing so help drive the recovery of Samoa’s cocoa industry as a whole. We also have full traceability of the Samoan cocoa beans we use, which gives us assurances about compliance with expected ethical and environmental standards.
Alongside the wider global cocoa industry, we are committed under the World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa & Forests Initiative to 100% full traceability of all the cocoa beans we buy by 2025. This will enable us to have much greater visibility over what is happening throughout the supply chain and to demand improved compliance with ethical and environmental standards if and when required.
Addressing modern slavery risks in our wider supply chain
Given the importance of cocoa to our business, addressing modern slavery risks within our cocoa supply chain (through the measures outlined above) is our top priority. However, we are committed to taking steps progressively to identify, assess and mitigate any modern slavery risks within our wider supply chain beyond cocoa.
In that regard, we plan to focus first on our suppliers in New Zealand because our proximity to them gives us greater visibility and assurance, with a view to building-out to focus on suppliers in other countries over time. Some of the ways we could look to address this include enhancements to supplier due diligence, supplier codes of conduct, and strengthened enforcement processes to drive compliance with the codes of conduct.
Leading by example
We are committed to being a role model of the ethical business practices we expect of our suppliers. In this context, we comply with all applicable employment laws in New Zealand, prioritise the health and safety of our staff, and actively seek to build and maintain a positive culture within our company.
There is not yet any modern slavery legislation in New Zealand that requires us to report formally against our commitments to addressing modern slavery risks in our supply chain, nor are we required to report on this in key export markets that do already have modern slavery legislation in place. However, because we take this issue seriously, we commit to annual voluntary reporting on how we are addressing modern slavery risks in our supply chain, in the same way and to the same standard as other companies are required to report on a mandatory basis.