Land rights

Land acquisition: Respecting the rights of local and indigenous peoples

Land tenure is one of the eight key areas that is included in our Rural Development Framework and we are now gathering data and insights on the status of farmers’ property rights. We have put in place a comprehensive approach to address the problem of land grabs during the last few years, focusing on identifying high-risk countries and raw material categories that we pay particular attention to.

Our initiatives at a glance
Responsible Sourcing Auditing Our key Tier 1 suppliers are required to demonstrate compliance with Nestlé’s Supplier Code, which also covers environmental standards through independent third-party audits. If corrective actions are required, we work with the auditors to guide vendors in upgrading their practices.
Responsible Sourcing Traceability & Assessments We promote transparency in our extended supply chain back to the farm or plantation for 12 priority categories to support our commitments on: no deforestation; responsible use of water and farm animal welfare; and other specific ethical and environmental aspects.
Farmer Connect Through Farmer Connect, our direct sourcing programme, we support dairy and coffee farmers and farming communities with technical assistance on sustainable production methods. We also promote the efficient delivery of raw materials to our factories.
Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at Nestlé (SAIN) This initiative facilitates the sharing of best practices and lessons learned within our agricultural supply chain. SAIN currently covers 51 countries (2013: 48).

Secure rights to land and natural resources are essential to rural development because they help to reduce uncertainties and facilitate long-term investment; in contrast, insecure land rights lead to poverty, land degradation and forest conversion. We have therefore made land rights one of our major areas of focus in our work on rural development.

Nestlé does not directly acquire or lease agricultural land, though we do acquire land for factory sites and a small number of demonstration farms. However, we do buy ingredients such as palm oil, soya and sugar, which are some of the common raw materials driving land acquisition and ‘land grabbing’.

A series of reports on the topic, including one in October 2013 from Oxfam into land tenure and supply chains, explored food and beverage companies’ land rights policies relating to sugar, palm oil and soya. In May 2012, the FAO produced Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs).

In July 2014, we released our Nestlé Commitment on Land and Land Rights in Agricultural Supply Chains. In this, we have adopted the FAO VGGTs, and commit to both zero tolerance for land grabs, and to holding suppliers accountable for community land rights. In short, we commit to source our raw materials from land that has not been illegally taken or unfairly taken. We will advocate for others to do likewise, and work with a range of stakeholders to help the landless gain access to land, with a focus on tenure for women.

The work of our partners such as The Forest Trust (TFT) includes assessments of our suppliers – and their suppliers – to determine the status of land ownership and any land conflicts, and to ensure that the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) are applied during the due diligence process that leads to any new land acquisition.

Complaints handling and resolution

We take the concerns of the people living close to our factories very seriously and are currently working to improve the way in which we respond, resolve and report on their concerns.

In 2014, we launched our ‘Tell us’ communication channel, specifically designed to give all external stakeholders the opportunity to declare any possible non-compliance against the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles or laws, both internal and external. By the end of 2014, 8 700 Nestlé suppliers had been appraised and informed of the Tell Us channel.

In the Tier 1 audits carried out in 2014, 66 instances of potential impacts on indigenous peoples, resulting from our own operations, were identified.

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