The Nescafé Coffee Center in Pu’er, Yunnan Province, China, provides training and quality assurance services to local coffee farmers.
We source supplies of ingredients from millions of farmers globally. They, and their workers, are critical to secure our long-term supply of raw materials, and therefore to our success. By understanding and managing where and how our ingredients are produced, and the issues farmers and their communities face, we can better support rural development.
Our sourcing strategy has two main components, delivered through Farmer Connect and responsible sourcing. Farmer Connect is our unique flagship sourcing programme, helping ensure the supply of high-quality agricultural raw materials, along with providing traceability back to farm level. It enables us to engage with 719 000 farmers globally so that we can develop a supply chain that meets our social, environmental and ethical requirements. It also helps towards establishing consistent and fair pricing, improved yields and reduced environmental impacts, while empowering farmers and improving their livelihoods through activities such as training, developing alternative income streams and supporting women and young farmers.
Responsible sourcing consists of sourcing our raw materials and paper in compliance with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG) criteria, and is aimed at achieving traceability and transparency throughout our supply chains. It also sets minimum standards for economic, social and environmental issues that can affect supply, livelihoods and sustainability in our sourcing activities.
Enhancing farmer livelihoods
Demand for high-quality food continues to grow, but issues such as climate change, poor soil management and loss of agricultural land raise serious challenges. Many farmers live on low incomes and farming is not always seen as a desirable career option. However, safe, high-quality food goes together with healthy farms and communities, which is why we are focused on addressing the root causes of these issues and creating an enabling environment to enhance farmers’ livelihoods.
We use a range of diagnostic tools such as our Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation (RISE) and Rural Development Framework (RDF) to assess and understand farmers’ needs. These tools help us identify and understand areas for intervention. The findings then guide our work to address issues that challenge farmers. Through our flagship Farmer Connect programme we engage directly with farmers to source our raw materials, all the while enhancing their livelihoods. Farmer Connect focuses on our key raw materials such as coffee, cocoa and dairy, but also on all other raw materials that are of strategic importance to brands.
Collective action – Rurality
Nestlé is partnering with The Forest Trust (TFT) on a major initiative, Rurality. Rurality is enhancing the livelihoods of palm oil farmers by better connecting them with palm oil mills in our supply chain and supporting them with knowledge and training, and through targeted interventions to provide clean water.
The initiative starts with a Rural Dynamics Diagnostic phase, in which Rurality field officers assess farmers’ environments, their farming systems and household economics, and their challenges and needs. This phase is important in building trust with the farmers. The information gathered enables a transformation strategy to be designed to identify opportunities for change to strengthen the farmers and help them overcome their challenges.
Following this, four projects involving over 400 farmers began in 2016, in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Malaysia and Indonesia. Initial actions have included training on practical topics such as use of appropriate tools, safety equipment and fertilisers, organising field visits to success stories to share ideas, and building awareness of the importance of forest conservation. Supported by Nestlé’s funding, Rurality will continue to grow in 2017.
With consumers and stakeholders increasingly wanting to know what’s in their food, where it comes from and how it’s made, responsible sourcing is an essential part of ensuring the integrity and sustainability of our business. It consists of sourcing our raw materials and paper in compliance with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline. It also sets minimum standards for economic, social and environmental issues affecting our supply chains.
Working alongside external partners (non-governmental organisations (NGOs), not-for-profit organisations, auditing companies), we map our supply chains, and conduct supplier audits and farm assessments to ensure the procurement of 12 priority ingredients (cereals; cocoa; coffee; dairy; fish and seafood; hazelnuts; meat, poultry and eggs; palm oil; pulp and paper; soya; sugar; and vanilla) complies with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline criteria. These represent the items we source in the largest quantities, or which are most important for us. We have a particular focus on coffee, cocoa and dairy, due to their size and the scope of the programmes run within them, including the Nescafé Plan and the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.
Collective action – Giving women a voice in Côte d’Ivoire
Working with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), we have established women’s fora in two cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire: Yaokouakoukro and Zaranou. These platforms will give the women a voice in their communities, the opportunity to have grievances addressed, and a path to obtain advice when needed.
Following work with two women’s associations to build confidence and economic capacity, in 2016 we trained 175 women in effective dialogue and grievance-handling mechanisms. Training materials and techniques were designed to suit the participants, with a strong focus on role plays and simulations.