As Human Rights Day is being celebrated today, Nestlé the world’s largest food and beverage company, reiterates that Child Labour has no place in its supply chain, as it continues to assess and address human rights impacts across its business activities.
Over the past years, Nestlé has been at the forefront of corporate actions to eliminate child labour, forced labour in Central and West Africa.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), over 150 million children worldwide are employed in child labour.
In 2012, Nestlé became the first company in the food industry to become an affiliate partner of the Fair Labour Association and drew up the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in response to a report that mapped its cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire.
A recent report by “STOP THE TRAFFIK”, a human trafficking prevention organisation further revealed that Nestlé’s CLMRS is the most comprehensive yet to help children working in cocoa production, according to the organisation
The system identifies cases of child labour (or children at risk) within Nestlé’s supply chain and provides targeted solutions to prevent similar situations going forward. Children are monitored on an ongoing basis until they turn 18, allowing for the effectiveness of solutions to be assessed. Nestlé openly share the successes and failures of the system in its report “Tackling Child Labour” published last October.
Nestlé’s commitment is made more relevant in light of the recent pledges by world leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier this year to take effective measures for elimination of child labour by 2025.
The company also ensures accountability through its Human Rights Due Diligence programme where human rights issues that are at risk of the most impact through Nestlé’s activities are identified and managed, following which a report on progress is made through the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) reporting framework.
Speaking on the company’s commitment, Kais Marzouki, Nestlé Market Head for Central and West Africa, said, “We are focused on respecting and promoting human rights, and combating child labour is one of the ways we do so. Our efforts have seen child labour reduced by 51% over a three-year period in our supply chain. Our ambition is to continue to help improve the lives of 30 million people living in communities directly connected to our business activities. Creating Shared Value for all is how we contribute to society while ensuring the long-term success of the company”.
Nestlé has also put in place a number of other Human Rights initiatives, aimed at improving workers’ livelihoods, enhancing a culture of integrity across the organization, and providing effective grievance mechanisms to employees and stakeholders.
In Central and West Africa, it notably aims to empower women in rural communities to participate fully in society and the economy by giving women a voice in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire. Nestlé trains them in effective dialogue and grievance-handling mechanisms to provide women a clear path to obtain advice when needed. To improve their financial autonomy, Nestlé has provided a cooperative of 600 women with high-yield, disease-resistant cocoa seedlings and the technical assistance necessary to set up a nursery. Thousands of women are reaping the rewards from Nestlé’s technical assistance, farming practices and high-yield, disease-resistant plantlets.
Human rights is one of the great global issues and challenges of today. Around the world, abuses of human rights have a negative impact on millions of people and communities.
Nestlé continues to demonstrate leadership by identifying and tackling human rights issues, also in collaboration with key partners and organisations. This is central to Nestlé's purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future” and its values rooted in respect.