Nestlé highlights its commitment to fight child labour

Nestlé is working towards achieving its commitment to prevent the use of child labour in cocoa-growing areas in Côte d’Ivoire by continuing to actively collaborate with its partners and involve communities.

The world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company is doing this by raising awareness and training people how to identify children at risk, and how to intervene where there is a problem.

Nestlé’s target to eliminate child labour in key commodities is just one of its 35 pledges that cover nutrition, water, rural development, environmental sustainability and compliance, which it aims to fulfil by 2020 or earlier. 

They form part of the Nestlé in Society report ‘Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2013’.

“The use of child labour in our cocoa supply chain goes against everything we stand for,” said Kais Marzouki, Market Head for Nestlé Central and West Africa. “Tackling child labour is one of the three pillars of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.”

World Day Against Child Labour
Nestlé’s goal to address child labour highlights the importance of  World Day Against Child Labour on June 12.

Led by the International Labour Organization, this year’s theme spotlights the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it.

The global day calls for action to: introduce, improve and extend social protection; to implement national social security systems that help fight the problem; and to reach out to vulnerable groups of children.

Proactive partnership
Nestlé has set its sights on completing action plans for cocoa, hazelnuts and vanilla by 2015.

The company is already making progress by becoming the first company in the food industry to become an affiliate partner of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation, in 2012.

The company drew up an action plan in response to a report by the FLA, which was asked by Nestlé to map its cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire.

The FLA started work in Côte d’Ivoire – where about 40% of the world’s cocoa is sourced – and stated that child labour is the result of a combination of factors including poverty and the socio-economic situation of the farmers and their families.

The FLA made 11 recommendations to Nestlé, all of which the company fully supports and is acting upon, in some cases in collaboration with its partners.

Measures needed to address child labour were prioritized including the revision of the Nestlé Supplier Code.

The company is working with its suppliers in Côte d’Ivoire to ensure that the farmers growing its cocoa are fully aware of the obligations contained in the code.

More than 130 suppliers and personnel have already been trained between 2012 and 2013.

Monitoring and remediation
As part of its action plan, Nestlé set up a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System with the International Cocoa Initiative.

The scheme is helping Nestlé to identify the root causes of child labour in each cocoa community, and the interventions needed to begin tackling them.

It was piloted in 40 Ivorian communities covered by two co-operatives of cocoa farms during the cocoa harvest of 2012.

Last year, the company rolled it out to 154 communities in eight co-operatives. 

Nestlé has committed to extend the scheme to 80% of Ivorian cocoa co-operatives by 2015, increasing the number to 100% the following year.

Nestlé Cocoa Plan
The company welcomed the FLA’s report finding that its ‘Cocoa Plan’ lays the foundation for strengthening and mounting further efforts to achieve its commitment to eliminate child labour.

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan, launched in 2009, is a ten-year, CHF 110 million pledge to provide higher quality cocoa plantlets to farmers and to make the cocoa supply chain more traceable.

In 2013, 62,299 tons of cocoa were purchased through the Plan globally, of which 75 percent was certified by either UTZ or Fairtrade. A premium is paid for each ton of certified cocoa, which is equally distributed between the co-operative and the farmer. 

Nestlé partners with agri-businesses Olam and Cargill in Côte d’Ivoire to support the Nestlé Cocoa Plan co-operatives on the certification process. Co-operatives are monitored for compliance and externally audited each year.

As part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, about 28,000 cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire have already received training. The company aims to train a further 40,000 farmers in the country – paving the way to achieve its commitment to train 60,000 farmers by 2015.

In addition, Nestlé propagated more than 900,000 cocoa plants and built a 30-hectare pilot farm near Yamoussoukro to serve as a farmer training academy, and plant propagation centre.  

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan is designed to create value throughout the supply chain, particularly for the farmers and their families, but also for the company’s shareholders, an approach Nestlé calls ‘Creating Shared Value’.

The plan is also active in Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico and Indonesia.

It will soon be officially launched in Ghana where over 9,000 farmers have already been trained to achieve UTZ certification. In this country, Nestlé has helped build three water wells and two schools, as well as installed a village resource centre with computers at a local school. 

Education projects
To back its commitment to eliminate child labour, Nestlé aims to build or renovate 60 schools by 2015.

Under the Cocoa Plan, the company has partnered with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) to build or refurbish 40 schools in Côte d’Ivoire in four years.

A total of 23 schools have already been built or refurbished last year. This helps to enhance education projects such as adult literacy, hygiene promotion and out-of-school teaching programmes in Ivorian communities.

Regular updates
Nestlé is committed to transparency throughout the process and in its action plan.

A first stakeholder meeting led by the FLA and Nestlé took place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire at the end of 2012. It focused on further improvements to the action plan including community-based monitoring and remediation.

Nestlé and the FLA committed to publish annual progress updates.

Related information:
Nestlé’s commitment against Child Labour
Child labour and monitoring system in focus
The Nestlé Cocoa Plan
Nestlé in Society report: Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2013

Related News:
Nestlé joins ‘CocoaAction’