How is Nestlé helping to stop child labor?

children at school

 

Child labor is simply unacceptable and goes against everything we stand for. Unfortunately, it is still a reality in many countries, in particular in agriculture where the majority of child labor involves children supporting their parents on farms.

We aim to prevent and address this complex issue wherever it occurs in our supply chain. This means protecting children from situations that negatively impact their health or that prevent them to access education.

Nestlé works with 700,000 farmers worldwide directly and many others indirectly. If we receive reports of child labor we investigate allegations relating to specific suppliers, and take strong action if there is evidence of wrongdoing.

All our suppliers must follow our Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb)Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb), which has a 'minimum age for employment'. No supplier should employ under 15s 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 labor is a shared responsibility, and there are no quick or easy solutions.

We will continue playing our part in helping tackle the root causes of child labor through collective action and engagement with all relevant stakeholders to improve standards and ensure sustained progress.

What about child labor in cocoa?

In cocoa, we are tackling this complex issue through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, working with our partners and cocoa growing communities to address the root causes of child labor. We were the first company in the industry to introduce a comprehensive Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in 2012. This has allowed us to identify children at risk, raise awareness, and provide remediation measures appropriate to each case and family circumstance. This includes building and rehabilitating schools, delivering birth certificates, and providing school kits and other school material. Since 2012, we have made significant progress – for example, we monitor nearly 80,000 children at risk of child labor and helped more than 40 000 children access education.

But while child labor continues to exist, we know there is still work to do. We will continue to expand the reach of our CLMRS across all our cocoa supply chain in West Africa. We will also play our part in helping tackle the root causes of child labor through collective action and engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including farmers, communities and children themselves, as well as governments, multilateral and non-governmental organizations, peer companies, certification bodies, individual experts, our value chain partners.

We will also take an active role in supporting regulations, policies, and the development of programs and incentives that are needed to help eliminate child labor.

How does your system to help stop child labor work?

Nestlé has run our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Service (pdf, 2Mb) (CLMRS) to tackle child labor 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 labor 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 December 2019, 55% of children identified in child labor 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 the Fair Labor Association's report (pdf, 12Mb) to learn more.

What does 'remediation' involve?

Remediation activities are at the heart of our efforts to tackle child labor. 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 benefitting more than 20,000 children.

  • In 2016, we partnered with the Jacobs Foundation to build over 98 'bridge schools', which provide classes for children 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 benefitted from tutoring, 62 children enrolled in vocational training and 979 women have benefitted 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 labor force for high-risk work like cutting trees and spraying crops, to make it less likely that children do this work.
 

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 end of 2019, 44% of the cocoa we bought was sourced through the Plan.

Do you support the Living Income Differential (LID) established by the governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana?

We strongly believe that cocoa farmers should earn an income that allows them to maintain a decent, adequate standard of living for them and their families.

We support efforts from the governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana to improve living standards. We were one of the first companies to buy 2020/2021 cocoa with the Living Income Differential (LID) – where USD 400 is added to the per ton price, to help support farmers.

We continue to buy cocoa with the LID premium.

Hazelnut sourcing practices and child labor

Our work with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) since 2011 and others has significantly reduced the number of children working in Turkey's hazelnut supply chain, although significant challenges remain.

After six years, we hit 100% traceability for hazelnut sourcing in Turkey, and continue to implement a monitoring and remediation system to tackle child labor and other human rights issues.

Globally, we have significantly improved sourcing, with 90% of our global hazelnut supply now traceable, and 80% categorized as responsibly sourced.

Tackling child labor in hazelnuts is a shared responsibility, and we welcome dialogue, engagement and collective action with all those committed to doing so.

What is your reaction to the report by the University of Chicago (NORC report)

Nestlé welcomes the publication of the NORC report on 'Assessing Progress in Reducing Child Labor in Cocoa Production in Cocoa Growing Areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana'. The report shows that there are today still too many children doing work for which they are too young, or work that endangers them.

These findings are consistent with data from our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS). As our 2019 Tackling Child Labor report (pdf, 6Mb) shows, out of the 78 580 children being monitored, 18 283 were found to be in child labor. As of September 2019, 55% of children identified in child labor were no longer doing unacceptable work at their most recent follow up visit following targeted remediation activities. This shows that company programs like our CLMRS are having a major impact in reducing child labor. This was corroborated by a recent Fair Labor Association's Social Impact Assessment (pdf, 12Mb) of our CLMRS as well as recent analyses by NORC and ICI of company programs.

What actions are now needed to end child labor?

While we've made progress in tackling child labor in our cocoa supply chain, we know that as long as child labor continues to exist, we know there is still work to do. We will continue to expand the reach of our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) across all our cocoa supply chain in West Africa. Our CLMRS has demonstrated it is effective in identifying children performing unacceptable tasks and in providing tailored remediation.

Incidences of child labor are very frequently due to poverty among farmers and farm workers, low level of farm resilience due to size, productivity and other factors, inadequate access to education, weak enforcement of regulations and lack of collective action.

Tackling child labor is a shared responsibility. We will play our part in helping tackle its root causes through collective action and engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including farmers, communities and children themselves, as well as governments, multilateral and non-governmental organizations, peer companies, certification bodies, individual experts, and our value chain partners. For example, we participate in the Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) coalition, a public-private partnership focused on scaling investments for quality education in Côte d'Ivoire.

We will also take an active role in supporting regulations, policies, and the development of programs and incentives that are needed to help eliminate child labor.

Tackling child labor

Ending child labor is a shared responsibility, and Nestlé is keen to work with everyone committed to tackling it.

Tackling child labor

Click to enlarge (pdf, 2.5Mb)
 

Still have a question?

In pictures: Meeting our Cocoa Plan commitments

Helping hand
Helping hand
A teacher gives a lesson at a new school in Goboué in Lakota, one of 81 departments of Côte d'Ivoire. The school was built by Nestlé and its Cocoa Plan partners in 2013.
Starting school
Starting school
The first intake of students at the new school in the community of Goboué, Côte d'Ivoire, home to the UCODEL cocoa farming cooperative. The school was built by Nestlé and its Cocoa Plan partners in 2013.
Play time
Play time
School children enjoying a ‘football party’ after class at the new school in Goboué, Côte d'Ivoire, built by Nestlé and its Cocoa Plan partners in 2013.
Jumping rope
Jumping rope
A child plays during recreation at the new school in Goboué, Côte d'Ivoire, built by Nestlé and its Cocoa Plan partners in 2013.
Raising awareness
Raising awareness
Community liaison officer Kouassi Henri Djaha (centre) from the International Cocoa Initiative speaks to Bako Aladji Ali (centre left) and his family about the risks faced by children working in cocoa plantations.
Children's rights
Children's rights
International Cocoa Initiative community liaison officers speak to residents of Konankro, Côte d'Ivoire about children’s rights, as part of a training session to raise awareness about child labour issues.
Community liaison
Community liaison
Kouassi Henri Djaha, a community liaison officer from the International Cocoa Initiative, gives a training session on the dangers of children working in cocoa plantations in Konankro, Divo, Côte d'Ivoire.
Improved crops
Improved crops
Members of the women's cocoa co-operative COPAZ, based in Kperedi, Côte d'Ivoire, pick higher-yielding cocoa seedlings provided by Nestlé.
Co-op president
Co-op president
Agathe Vanie, president of the women cocoa farmers’ co-operative COPAZ, drives a new truck provided by Nestlé.
Helping hand
Starting school
Play time
Jumping rope
Raising awareness
Children's rights
Community liaison
Improved crops
Co-op president