Our commitment: Roll out the Rural Development Framework to understand the needs of farmers
The Nestlé Rural Development Framework helps us to identify the needs of farmers and farming communities and, therefore, to target our investments better.
By 2015 – Continue to establish baseline assessments in the countries of key importance to our business that show pronounced social need to guide us in aligning our own activities with the priorities of local communities.
In 2013, we piloted the Rural Development Framework in our coffee programmes in China and Vietnam, and coffee, cocoa and cassava procurement in Côte d’Ivoire. This involved conducting baseline assessments to understand current conditions and design appropriate interventions. Some common findings, published in July 2014, include poor resource management, and variable access to clean water, sanitation and nutrition. In some cases, issues concerning land tenure, the status of women and agronomy knowledge were also raised.
Following stakeholder feedback on our human rights and rural development approach in April 2014, we adjusted our approach and began work across Mexico, Colombia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Some of our findings have already been incorporated into country business plans, while others require further discussions with partners, communities and government agencies to align our efforts and avoid duplication.
Nestlé has a huge stake in rural communities around the world, sourcing agricultural raw materials from millions of farmers globally. These farmers are essential to the ongoing success of our business, but the global farming population is ageing and more people are moving away to urban areas. The Nestlé Rural Development Framework helps align our business activities with local development priorities. In addition to helping farmers access financial assistance, our agripreneurship model provides a training pipeline for farmers to develop their skills.
But making rural areas attractive places to live, work and invest in doesn’t just depend on our supply chain. Rural populations need access to clean energy, banking and finance, healthcare, telecommunications and other infrastructure. We are working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and its member companies to explore how different sectors can come together to focus their investments in rural areas. We also know that for many communities, nutritional status remains a critical challenge. At this point, our Rural Development Framework may not yet address this aspect sufficiently.
Created to bring all our rural development activities together, the framework – supported by our Rural Development Commitment – is composed of three pillars underpinned by alignment, collaboration and advocacy: successful farmers; productive and respected workers; and prospering communities.