Mar 31, 2014, updated March 2014
Cocoa, the most important ingredient of chocolate, is grown by more than 4.5 million farmers in remote rural regions, and Nestlé uses more than 10% of the world’s production. We’re working to create shared value in our cocoa supply chain to improve the wellbeing and livelihoods of farming families and children; to reduce the risks to long-term supplies; and to promote a more sustainable cocoa sector.
Through our commitment to continue to roll out the Nestlé Cocoa Plan we seek to address issues including low productivity and child labour on cocoa farms.
Our aims are:
- For farmers to choose cocoa farming, rather than enter it for lack of decent employment opportunities
- For cocoa farmers to improve their lives and those of their families and
- For local communities to be empowered and thrive through the cocoa economy
To help realise these ambitions, the Nestlé Cocoa Plan has three main action pillars: enabling farmers to run profitable farms; improving social conditions; and sourcing good quality, sustainable cocoa. Underlying these pillars is a multi-stakeholder approach based on collaboration with partners and transparency. We have become affiliates of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), and in response to its recommendations, we set up a child labour monitoring and remediation system with the help of the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). Now active in eight co-operatives, the system allows local community members to play a pivotal role in starting to uncover and helping us tackle incidences of child labour.
Value to Society
In 2013, we expanded the depth and breadth of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. In Côte d’Ivoire, we opened our experimental farm and farmer training centre, worked closely with 10 co-operatives to develop their three-year plans and continued the roll-out of the crop protection programme. In Ghana, as well as a training and certification programme, we built three water wells and two schools, and installed a village resource centre with computers at a local school. We accelerated collaboration with others, by joining the Cocoa Livelihoods Program (partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and the IDH Fertilizer Initiative, and worked closer with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) through its CocoaLink mobile technology service in Côte d’Ivoire. Our efforts also include:
- Training farmers - Globally, against an objective to train 25,000 cocoa farmers by 2014, we trained 33,885 cocoa farmers in better agricultural practices in 2013, using a variety of methods, including farmer field schools and farmer business training, to help improve farm profitability.
- Investing in plant and soil research - research into soil fertility, plant nutrition and the improvement of farming systems, as well as the distribution of cocoa plants, have a major impact on the ability of cocoa farmers to grow more, higher-quality crops over the long term and thus secure a higher income. We met our objective to distribute more than 1 million plantlets to farmers by 2014. In Côte d’Ivoire, we propagated more than 900,000 plants, and in Ecuador, we distributed more than 122,000 plants of the national variety, which produces fine cocoa with a premium flavour.
- Improving the supply chain - In 2013, we purchased 62,299 tonnes of cocoa – 14.5% of our total – through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, a 34% increase over 2012 (2014 target: 80,000 tonnes).
- Empowering women in the cocoa supply chain - We are working with our supply chain partners to collate data about the situation of women in our cocoa supply chain, and looking for opportunities to improve equality of opportunity. We are initially focusing on women in decision-making positions, women farmers trained and women farmers in co-operatives.
- Building schools - Building schools contributes to better social conditions and in 2012, we made a commitment to build or refurbish 40 schools over four years in Côte d’Ivoire, with most of these being built by the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). So far, we have built or refurbished 23 schools – 19 with the WCF and four with other partners such as the ICI – enabling 400 children to go to school for the first time.
- Tackling child labour in the cocoa supply chain - Along with building schools, we’re tackling child labour directly.
Value to Nestlé
We have already been acting on one of the FLA's key recommendations to build a monitoring and remediation system to tackle child labour in Côte d’Ivoire.
The Fair Labor Association published its first report on Nestlé's cocoa supply chain since the company joined the organisation, highlighting areas where the company needs to do more to meet the FLA code.