We source around 4400 tonnes of hazelnuts annually. It is an important ingredient for us, being used in a range of foods and beverages, including confectionery – especially chocolate – pastries and ice cream. As well as being used whole, hazelnuts can be roasted, powdered and puréed.

How we source hazelnuts

The bulk of our supply of hazelnuts comes from the western and eastern parts of the Black Sea region of Turkey, the world’s largest hazelnut producer. We do not source directly from the farms but from a small number of suppliers, who obtain the hazelnuts through a chain of intermediaries. As Turkey provides most of our supplies, it is there that we focus our responsible sourcing activities.

Hazelnut supply chain challenges and solutions

The most widespread and serious issue in the hazelnut supply chain is safe and healthy working conditions for labourers, in particular the many temporary migrant workers employed during the harvest period. Child labour has also been identified as an issue.

For many of these workers and their families, seasonal work is sometimes the only means of survival. Specific issues they face include: limited access to sanitation and potable water; overcrowding and lack of personal space and privacy; children not receiving education; and limited knowledge of safe working practices, such as the appropriate use, storage and disposal of chemicals. A lack of employment records, compensation discrimination and harassment are also issues that occur.

Working with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), we have identified and implemented a range of measures, such as training farmers on food agricultural practices, and running summer schools to remove children from labour in the orchards.

Both our suppliers, Olam-Progida and BALSU, have teams of agronomists and social workers. These teams are active in the field not only in harvest time but all year round, running awareness-raising activities on child labour, labour standards and good agricultural practices with farmers, local authorities and middlemen.

Child labour

FLA audits have shown a considerable increase in the number of children working in the hazelnut harvest. This is mostly linked to the conflict zones in south-eastern Turkey, close to the conflict in Syria. Many children, young people and women have left the region on their own to seek safety elsewhere.

Labour conditions

A range of labour issues have been identified, particularly relating to workers’ conditions. Many of the workers are migrants and have temporary accommodation, which often means they lack access to basic facilities. FLA audits have found a number of non-compliances, and inadequate hygiene was observed in most hazelnut gardens. Olam-Progida has helped provide workers with better facilities, such as electricity, toilets and access to city water in the camp areas, as well as training and awareness-raising sessions, and we have provided drinking water, adequate sanitation and hand-washing facilities. Farmers are provided with a toll-free phone number enabling them to report any complaints.

FLA audits have also identified inadequate worker safety as an issue in the majority of gardens, with both a lack of equipment and of awareness being particular problems. Personal protective equipment and first aid kits have been provided, but workers were not fully aware of their importance. Moreover, most of the kits were kept at farmers’ houses, reducing their use. We have been working on these issues with our suppliers, providing awareness-raising sessions as well as safety equipment.

How we assess suppliers

We do not buy directly from the hazelnut growers, but from two major suppliers, BALSU and Olam-Progida. We work closely with them to implement activities aimed at improving conditions and achieving responsible sourcing in the supply chain. We also work with the FLA, who carry out audits at farm level and identify issues, and in partnership with the FLA we identify and implement measures to address the issues they find.

We join training sessions organised by our suppliers for farmers, middlemen and workers. We also contribute in advocacy meetings with local authorities to develop workers’ conditions and tackle child labour.

We trace and provide support to develop training, the distribution of personal protective equipment, and our suppliers’ field activities. We also work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and our suppliers to develop risk assessments for workers and provide support for their needs.

Our annual objectives

Hazelnut supply chain traceability results

Hazelnut supply chain traceability chart. Total volume (globally): 4400 tonnes. Percentage of volume traceable (back to gardens): 84% (2016 target: 70%). Percentage of volume Responsibly Sourced (farms reached by training, assessments or mitigation actions): 43% (2016 target: 30%)
  • Total volume (globally) 4400 tonnes
    Percentage of volume traceable (back to gardens) 84% (2016 target: 70%)
    Percentage of volume Responsibly Sourced (farms reached by training, assessments or mitigation actions) 43% (2016 target: 30%)

Our progress to date

In 2016, the FLA continued its work on reducing child labour as part of a US Department of Labor-funded project in partnership with Nestlé and our suppliers BALSU and Olam-Progida. Much of the remedial work is based around organising school facilities for the children of migrant workers and providing educational activities to take them out of labour in the orchards.

Looking ahead

We will continue to work with our partners to address the causes of issues identified in audits and provide further support for workers.

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