We put people at the heart of everything we do in Central and West Africa (CWAR). At Nestlé, we operate with a fundamental respect to support the rights of people we employ, do business with and whom we engage with.
As the world’s largest food and beverages company, we operate in a wide range of countries and regions, including CWAR, which have their own diverse cultural norms and differences that are constantly evolving due to governing regulations that are either enforced or are embedded in local traditions. We must not only follow these national laws and international business standards, we must also actively support and reinforce them.
Through respecting and maintaining the principles established by the global business community, and the consistent and continuous application of our own standards, we believe we are in a strong position to have a positive impact on those we affect.
From the farmers we work with, to the scientists who drive our research and development, and to the sales people who sell our products to our consumers across the region, we aim to offer each one of them across our supply chain good working conditions, while keeping them safe, healthy and engaged.
In Central and West Africa we look to empower women, particularly in cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire, to make an impact in society and the economy – in the workplace, marketplace and community. We are also against all forms of child exploitation and are totally committed to prevent and eliminate child labour from our supply chain. Here is how we’re doing this.
1) Monitoring child labour in Côte d’Ivoire
We were the first company in the food industry to become an affiliate partner of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) in 2012. In response to its report that mapped our cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire, we drew up the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) with the International Cocoa Initiative. This goes beyond certification as we’re using community liaison officers chosen by local communities to gather data on whether child labour is evident. So far, we have 687 of these officers in the country that report to 40 cooperative child labour agents who help reinforce our system when needed. Last year, we trained 60,000 farmers on child labour and built and renovated 42 schools to help children go to school. We’ve also included about 80% of cooperatives in the CLMRS. In 2016, we aim to increase this to 100%.
2) Empowering women in the cocoa supply chain
We’re supporting women cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire by launching the ‘Nestlé Action Plan on Women in the Cocoa Supply Chain’ in 2013, as part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. Together with the FLA we’ve organised gender awareness trainings in 29 cooperatives to create opportunities and increase independence for women. This will be extended to all coops by 2017. Last year, the percentage of women running Nestlé Cocoa Plan nurseries has increased to 27%, rising by nine-fold since 2013. A total of 66 women’s groups were also provided with support and assistance on income generating activities to help send their children to school.