Enhance gender balance in our workforce and empower women across the entire value chain
We want Nestlé to be a gender-balanced and truly equal workplace that can serve as an example to others.
Why it matters
Gender equality and women’s rights, education and empowerment are critical to our business. However, women continue to face challenges in the global workplace, from under-representation in business management generally, to a lack of access to training, tools and finance for agricultural workers. Our initiatives tackle these issues throughout our value chain.
Gender inequality affects people and places all over the world, from boardrooms to cocoa farms. Our initiatives aim to address this problem wherever we find it.
What we are doing
The initiatives we’ve launched to create gender balance are starting to bear fruit.
Be a gender-balanced company by creating the enabling conditions in our work environment to achieve annual increases in the percentage of women managers and senior leaders (market management members).
Our result: 43.2% of Nestlé’s manager positions are held by women. 31.8% of Nestlé’s senior leadership roles are held by women.
The livelihoods of women have been improved in five priority sourcing locations.
Our result: We have so far made progress toward this objective in Colombia, Pakistan, Turkey and Côte d’Ivoire.
Our pledge to achieve equal pay even faster
At Nestlé, we aim to provide a workplace that generates equal opportunities for everyone, and in which people are treated with dignity and respect. In line with our commitment to enhance gender balance at all levels in our workforce, we further pledge to work to achieve equal pay for our employees.
In September 2018, we pledged to accelerate the pace toward equal pay for equal work. We made the announcement at an event on the margins of the September 2018 UN General Assembly in New York. Organized by the Equal Pay International Coalition, the event aimed to build a consortium of partners committed to closing the gender pay gap and achieving equal pay.
Diversity and inclusion are an integral part of Nestlé’s culture, and since 2011 we have increased the number of women in leadership positions every year. We’re proud of the work we’ve done, and we look forward to being part of the move toward greater equality.
Addressing gender inequality among coffee growers
We believe that gender equality can drive sustainability, and we developed a gender analysis tool to explore the employment issues that women around the world face – and what the solutions might be.
The analysis tool was created in partnership with TechnoServe as part of our Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program to help us understand gender equality within the coffee supply chain. In 2017, we tested it in Indonesia, Guatemala and Ethiopia, and reported the results at the end of the year.
Using these insights, we developed a gender equality strategy for our AAA Sustainable Quality Program. Through this, we aim to empower women and reduce gender disparities.
Supporting women in the hazelnut supply chain
Women face difficult working conditions in the hazelnut supply chain and child labor is a major problem. Though many women work, they are still economically dependent on husbands and fathers and are often unable to attend training activities.
Across 20 villages in Ordu, Sakarya and Şanlıurfa, we trained women workers on labor rights and leadership skills, as well as helping to improve their financial literacy. We implemented educational programs and established a toy library for children. We also promoted dialogue and joint initiatives that could help women independently pursue better conditions.
We also worked with our other key hazelnut supplier Balsu on the Strong Women, Strong Farming program, which promoted and supported the women who own or are part of families that own hazelnut-growing gardens. Through training and workshops, the program aimed to recognize the participation of women in the hazelnut supply chain. It also ensured women could increase their incomes.
Read more about the work we’re doing to empower women when sourcing hazelnuts.
First-ever Women in Manufacturing Award goes to Nestlé Professional
Nestlé USA Professional won the inaugural Women in Manufacturing Award for its work pushing for greater gender quality in the food industry. Sponsored by the Women’s Foodservice Forum and the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, the award honors food-manufacturing companies that are committed to advancing women leaders.
We have joined the LEAD Network as part of our efforts to help advance women’s careers in the retail and consumer goods industry
The mission of the LEAD (Leading Executives Advancing Diversity) Network is to attract, retain and advance women in the retail and consumer goods industry through education, leadership and business development. The organization has six local country chapters where it regularly holds networking events (Switzerland, Germany, Spain, UK, Netherland and Turkey).
The most recent LEAD event was held in London on November 15–16, 2018, with 414 delegates from 23 countries and 102 companies, including Nestlé representatives.
We’re proud of and looking to enhance our partnership with other global firms under the roof of LEAD Network.
How women’s empowerment helped to transform coffee-growing regions in Colombia
For farmers in the rich and fertile Andean regions of Colombia, coffee was a reliable crop that often provided a steady income. But as rainfall conditions changed, the small coffee-growing families that are the engine of Colombia’s coffee industry were starting to suffer the effects of climate change, from landslides to reduced water availability. This led to water imbalances and less productive farms, meaning farmers were poorer and the coffee supply lower.
Intelligent Water Management (IWM) – also called Manos al Agua – is a pilot project that aimed to build sustainability into Colombia’s coffee crops and to improve the welfare of the people that grow it. It lasted from 2013 to June 2018. A collaboration between Nestlé, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, APC-Colombia, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and researchers from Cenicafé and Wageningen University and Research Center, the project focused on four key areas:
- Clean technology transfer: Water conservation and treatment after the coffee-washing process.
- Healthy ecosystems: Improving soil health through agroforestry and bioengineering, and conserving important water areas.
- Knowledge generation: Developing a water and climate monitoring system to prevent crop damage due to extreme weather events.
- Co-operation and participation: Engaging with the public and private sectors, academia and civil society.
At the heart of the project was the belief that empowering women in these communities will help to transform the coffee farms.
Poor environmental performance on a farm is almost always because of a lack of knowledge, and IWM aimed to change this by getting women and men directly involved in making their farming communities sustainable. This meant training farmers on economic management, building water-reuse systems and selecting sites for restoration or reforestation. One of the most important elements was creating Manos al Agua community participation groups, which trained farmers and worked on reforestation, bioengineering and climate-monitoring projects in river basins.
Throughout the project, women were fully involved and in positions of leadership.
Manos al Agua has been an eye-opening project in this sense. It has involved women from the beginning, not only through training but also in giving them leadership opportunities. With one of the pillars of the project being ‘Water is Everyone’s Business’, Manos Al Agua has effectively extended the ownership of the water from the watersheds to their inhabitants, and has put the women in key positions to lead this change.Jérôme Perez, Global Head of Sustainability, Nestlé Nespresso
During the project, we learned, once again, that collaboration with other organizations is often the key to making the biggest impact. And we were proud to see the positive effects – environmental and economic – that women’s empowerment can have on a region.
We helped thousands of Pakistani women start their own businesses in Pakistan’s dairy industry
In Pakistan, we worked with the US Agency for International Development and the Dairy and Rural Development Foundation on the Dairy Project, an ambitious and wide-ranging initiative that aims to boost the health of the country’s dairy industry. Pakistan is one of the world’s largest milk producers, but it suffers from seriously low yields. By training nearly 10 629 dairy farmers and upgrading farms throughout the country, the project aimed to make farms more productive and profitable.
One of the most important elements of this was empowering rural women. Women already play a crucial role in the country’s dairy sector, and in the life of rural communities. We wanted to recognize their work and make it economically viable.
Through the project, we gave rigorous training in basic animal husbandry and livestock management to more than 3400 women in 2018, many of whom were unemployed and marginalized.
As well as breaking down social taboos about women working in the fields, this training has enabled these women to set up their own businesses as Women Livestock Extension Workers (WLEWs) and earn a regular income.
The Dairy Project team helped me explore new ways of gaining a better income through its Women Livestock Extension Workers training program. After receiving this training, I am not only technically trained to provide timely livestock health and management services for my community but can also pursue my objective of achieving better education. I feel proud to contribute toward my household expenditure and my education.Sehrish Khan, Women Livestock Extension Worker, South Punjab
It wasn’t just WLEWs that we were able to support. We also worked with many other women entrepreneurs, including farmers and milk sourcing agents, and we trained thousands more on best farm practices through village meetings. We’re proud that the Dairy Project was able to put power into the hands of rural women while bolstering the strength of the Pakistani dairy industry.
In Côte d’Ivoire, we’re helping cocoa-growing communities by empowering women
Côte d’Ivoire grows a big portion of the world’s cocoa. But within the country, cocoa production is seen as a man’s game, and women’s contributions to farm and family life too often go unrecognized. Our experience has shown us that when women are empowered to earn an income and make choices within their communities, good things happen. Not just for them, but for the health of their children and often the good of the community.
To help women around Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa farms make their own opportunities, we gave intensive training on gender equality to 75 farming co-operatives. This involved four managers from each co-op, including a woman representative, working for three days on training and then developing an action plan – to benefit not just its women members but the wider community.
We also commissioned the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to work with two women’s associations on investigating what grievance mechanisms were available to women in cocoa-growing communities. As the FLA learned more about the unique challenges these women face, it updated the project’s objectives to reflect their priorities, in particular, increasing incomes.
Throughout the country’s cocoa-growing regions, it’s clear that getting better incomes into the hands of women will bring numerous benefits. That’s why ‘income-generating activities’ is one of the key remediation actions in our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System. When we find pockets where child labor is common, we help the women in the area work on a communal activity that will generate income – this should significantly reduce risk, and we’re currently evaluating exactly how effective it is.
Through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, we have also looked to support women who want to grow their own cocoa – like with AFPCC, a co-operative of around 600 women led by Agathe Vanié. In 2010, it joined the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and we provided them with high-yield, disease-resistant seedlings.