children at school

Child labour is unacceptable and we are committed to preventing and stopping it whenever it occurs in our supply chain. It is difficult to remove the risk entirely, but we are dedicated to doing so.

Nestlé works with 700,000 farmers worldwide directly and many others indirectly. Many of our suppliers live and work in communities where children have traditionally worked on family farms, for historic and economic reasons.

If we do receive reports of child labour we will investigate allegations relating to specific suppliers, and take strong action if there is evidence of wrongdoing.

All suppliers must follow our Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb), which has a ‘minimum age for employment’. No supplier should employ under 15 years or those under the completion age for compulsory education, whichever is higher – subject to strict parental exceptions for family farm work.

We also state our strong opposition to child exploitation in our Corporate Business Principles, which guide how all Nestlé employees and business partners should behave.

Ending child labour is a shared responsibility, and there are no quick or easy solutions. Nestlé will continue to work with our partners, governments, certifiers and the cocoa and chocolate industry to improve standards and ensure sustained progress.

What is Nestlé doing to address sustainability issues in its cocoa supply chain?

As one of the world’s biggest buyers of cocoa, Nestlé takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure that the cocoa it buys is produced in a sustainable manner. In 2009, we launched the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, which aims to improve the lives of farmers and their communities, and has three pillars of activities: better farming, better lives and better cocoa. We train farmers in better agricultural practices, distribute higher-yielding cocoa trees, promote gender equality, address the child labour issue and develop long-term relationships with farmer groups.

How much of your cocoa is sourced through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan?

By 2025, 100% of our cocoa for confectionary will be sourced through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, which means it will be traceable and certified by UTZ / Rainforest Alliance. As of the end of 2018, 49% of the cocoa we bought was sourced through the plan.

What about child labour in cocoa?

The vast majority of child labour in cocoa involves children supporting their parents on farms in West Africa.

We are tackling this complex and challenging issue through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, working with our supply chain partners and with local communities to address the root causes of child labour, while helping cocoa-farming communities remain financially and socially sustainable.

Our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) is in place in all the cocoa cooperatives we source from in Cote d’Ivoire and over 75% of the districts we buy from in Ghana. It allows us to identify children at risk, raise awareness and provide remediation that suits each child and their family circumstances.

We will continue to roll out our system to areas with a high risk of child labour, and will implement it for all our sourcing in West Africa by 2025. Our latest 2019 Tackling Child Labor report (pdf, 4Mb) shows the important progress we have made thus far. However, as long as child labour exists there is more work to do.

In addition, to help improve the livelihoods of cocoa farming communities, we train farmers in better agricultural practices, encourage income diversification and women’s empowerment and enable access to basic financial services.

Tackling child labour is a shared responsibility. We are also working with governments, certifiers and the broader cocoa and chocolate industry to address it.

How does your system to help stop child labour work?

Nestlé has run our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Service (CLMRS) to tackle child labour in Côte d’Ivoire since 2012. It covers all the co-operatives we source cocoa from directly in the country (87) – 1,751 cocoa-growing communities and 78,580 children.

From 2016, we began rolling out the scheme in Ghana, where it now covers 2,859 farmers and 2,430 children.

The system uses local ‘Community Liaison People’ who work to raise awareness of child labour in communities, identify children at risk and report their findings to Nestlé and our suppliers.

Of the 78,580 children monitored in Côte d’Ivoire, we found 18,283 or 23% performing unacceptable tasks. As of September 2019, 55% of children identified in child labour were no longer doing unacceptable work at their most recent follow-up visit (7,981 out of 14,511 children).

Read our new 2019 Tackling Child Labor report (pdf, 4Mb), and FLA’s latest (October 2018) independent monitoring report on our Côte d’Ivoire cocoa supply chain, to learn more.

What does ‘remediation’ involve?

Remediation activities are at the heart of our efforts to tackle child labour. They involve supporting children, their families and communities to remove kids from a situation of risk. The purpose is to try and prevent children from doing unacceptable work in the first place, and to help kids engaged in unacceptable work to stop. Each case is different and the help (remediation) we provide depends on the individual situation of the child and family.

Help provided to date has focused on access to quality education, activities to improve family income, activities to empower women and assistance with farm-related work.

Since 2012, we’ve built or refurbished 49 schools benefiting more than 20,000 kids. In 2016, we partnered with the Jacobs Foundation to build over 98 ‘bridge schools’, which provide classes for kids who have missed mainstream schooling.

We have provided 5,756 birth certificates so children can enroll in secondary school as well as 19,152 school kits. 1,255 kids benefited from tutoring, 62 children enrolled in vocational training and 979 women have benefited from maternal literacy programs, all since 2012.

Activities to improve family incomes are also important – helping households to diversify income sources to grow other crops or raise animals, such as beekeeping. 4,090 adults benefited from such activities – caring for 8,180 children.

Nestlé has also helped young adults create 157 service groups in communities where 5,921 children live or lived. These groups provide a labour force for high-risk work like cutting trees and spraying crops, to make it less likely that children do this work.

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