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Our raw materials: Hazelnuts | Nestlé

We source around 4889 tonnes of hazelnuts annually. It is an important ingredient for us, being used in a range of foods and beverages, including confectionery – especially chocolate – pastries and ice cream. As well as being used whole, hazelnuts can be roasted, powdered and puréed. The hazelnut supply chain contains serious challenges, especially over labour conditions and child labour. We work closely with partners and governments to address these.

77% of our total hazelnut volume purchased in 2017 was responsibly sourced

88% of our total hazelnut volume purchased in 2017 was traceable to its source

2000 children benefited in 2017 from our activities to address child labour in hazelnut orchards

Sourcing hazelnuts responsibly

The bulk of our supply of hazelnuts comes from the western and eastern parts of the Black Sea region of Turkey, the world’s largest hazelnut producer. We do not source directly from the farms but from a small number of suppliers, who obtain the hazelnuts through a chain of intermediaries. As Turkey provides most of our supplies, it is there that we focus the main part of our responsible sourcing activities. In 2017, we extended our farm assessment work to our hazelnut sourcing regions in Italy and Spain to better understand the conditions in these regions related to the hazelnut farming.

Supply chain challenges and solutions

The most widespread and serious challenges in the hazelnut supply chain in Turkey are around safe and healthy living and working conditions for labourers, especially the many temporary migrant workers employed during the harvest period, and the existence of child labour. The problem has deteriorated in the last year due to the ongoing political turmoil in the region and the war in Syria, which has led to a continuous influx of refugees into Turkey. This has had a direct impact on the incidence of child labour in Turkey in various industry sectors, including agriculture.

Labour conditions

We have been carrying out assessment work with our partner the Fair Labor Association (FLA) since 2013. Along with new research on worker profiling, this has enabled us to identify a range of labour challenges in Turkey. For example, many workers are migrants and have temporary accommodation, often lacking access to basic facilities and adequate hygiene. Together with our suppliers, BALSU and Olam-Progida, we have used this data to help to provide workers with better facilities, including electricity, toilets and sanitation, and access to clean water in the camp areas. We have also rolled out training and awareness-raising sessions. Farmers and workers have access to a toll-free phone number enabling them to report any complaints.

FLA audits showed an increase in the number of training sessions on the principles of health and safety equipment. However, there is still improvement to be made on the issues of transportation safety for conveying workers to orchards, adequate accommodation and access to sanitation facilities.

A handbook and video are currently in development, and will highlight the best practices necessary in hazelnut gardens to ensure fair labour rights are maintained. The video and handbook will be produced in Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic, and will be targeted at Tier 1 suppliers, middlemen (manavs), farmers, labour contractors, workers and children.

FLA worker profiling research

The FLA’s worker profiling in 2017 identified a number of challenges facing seasonal workers in the Turkish hazelnut industry, including:

  • 18.9% said they had insufficient money for basic needs such as food and rent, and 72.6% said they had barely enough to get by;
  • 63% had no additional source of income;
  • 60% were in debt;
  • 10% worked between 9 and 11 hours each day; and
  • 99% worked seven days a week.

This work helped us, our suppliers, local authorities and our partner non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to understand the root causes of child labour and labour rights issues in the hazelnut supply chain. We now understand better the workers’ migration routes, literacy levels, gender split and basic needs, and the labour standards. Together with our partners, we’ve been using this information to identify and inform the direction of future activities to improve livelihoods. Within the responsible recruitment pilot programme, we have already launched projects such as training in workers’ places of origin, with a specific focus on women’s empowerment and literacy courses for labour contractors.

Child labour in the supply chain

Research carried out by the FLA in Turkey in 2017 showed a number of specific challenges around child labour. Of 193 seasonal child workers identified:

  • 24.4% did not attend school regularly;
  • 100% worked seven days a week – 6% for between 9 and 11 hours a day; and
  • 6% were required to carry heavy bags and 3% were involved in pest control and fertiliser-related work, all of which is deemed hazardous labour.

Based on the recent research and latest FLA assessment in 2017, we have intensified our engagement with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Turkish Ministry of Labour, suppliers, companies, international and local NGOs, and other interested stakeholders. Along with our local suppliers, Olam-Progida and BALSU, and with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Labour, Nestlé has been using a grant from the US Department of Labor for a project to address child labour in hazelnut orchards. We are also part of a partnership between the ILO and trade association CAOBISCO. During the 2017 harvest, together with our partners we have intensified our activities to support the workers and their families. These efforts include the renovation of basic infrastructure, providing drinking water, adequate sanitation and hand-washing facilities; training farm workers on labour rights; delivering personal protection equipment; and offering summer school opportunities and other activities to children. This year alone, we have been able to benefit close to 2000 children, 4600 workers and 1050 families.

“Last year we came to the camp area and there was no electricity, no water, no toilets... This year with this project our conditions have improved. They even thought our hygiene materials. We thank Olam-Progıda and Nestlé from this project. I hope everything will be better next year.” Mrs. Gülistan TATLI (Seasonal Migrant Women Worker).

Olam-Progida and BALSU have teams of agronomists and social workers active in the field all year round. They run awareness-raising activities on child labour, labour standards and good agricultural practices with farmers, local authorities and middlemen. Both of our suppliers also provide a toll-free phone number to the farmers and workers enabling them to report any complaints.

Assessing suppliers

We do not buy directly from the hazelnut growers, but from two major suppliers, BALSU and Olam-Progida. We work closely with both to implement activities aimed at improving conditions and achieving responsible sourcing in the supply chain. The FLA carries out audits at farm level within our supply chain, and in partnership with the FLA and our two major suppliers we identify and implement measures to address the challenges found.

“We have been working actively together with Nestlé since 2010 to prevent child labour in the hazelnut supply chain. At BALSU, we believe training on the field is not just important for the development, it is vital. People can change when given a chance with the education that is our strongest tool to reach our targets in this journey.”

Murat Gökdemir, Commodity Manager, BALSU