Why it matters
Nestlé is opposed to all violations of human rights, including breaches of labor rights. Seven of our eleven salient issues involve labor rights and are associated with our agricultural supply chains. We have a particular focus on protecting children from the workplace so they can gain an education to help them and their communities have better futures.
Collaborating for transformation
Addressing the complex human rights challenges in our agricultural supply chains cannot be addressed by one company alone. Transformation requires collaboration with industry partners and other stakeholders, including civil society and governments. This is why we actively participate in different industry and multi-stakeholder platforms, including the Consumer Goods Forum’s Human Rights Coalition of Action, the Responsible Business Alliance’s Responsible Labor Initiative and the Institute for Human Rights and Business’s Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.
Demonstrating our commitment
Making effective interventions in our hazelnut supply chain in Turkey
In 2019, our partner the Fair Labor Association (FLA) published a report (pdf, 6Mb) outlining the findings of its social impact assessment (SIA) to measure interventions by Nestlé and our two suppliers, Balsu and Olam, in our hazelnut supply chain in Turkey.
The report, Are Companies’ Programs Impacting Change in the Lives of Hazelnut Workers? (pdf, 6Mb), found the following:
- Decreasing child labor: The summer school and daycare schemes we support are effective in preventing child labor: FLA recorded a five-year low of 6% of children working in the hazelnut gardens, in comparison to 22% in a control group.
- Responsible recruitment: Training workers and labor recruiters resulted in an increased understanding of workers’ rights. Following training, 66% of workers who participated said that they were not required to pay a recruitment fee to labor recruiters, a common practice in the sector. Moreover, there was an increase in labor recruiters registering themselves and workers with government authorities, and worker protection was built into employment contracts – neither practice is common in this sector.
- Improved worker accommodation: Twenty-seven housing facilities for workers in nine villages had been built or renovated by ourselves and our suppliers. This was found to improve not only workers’ conditions, but also families’ perceptions that their housing was safer, especially for their children. Loyalty and productivity levels also increased.
The FLA also hosted a webinar in September to present and discuss its findings.
We have followed the SIA’s recommendations to train workers in their places of origin during the quieter months, when participants have more time and energy, and in the harvest areas, where workers need guidance on issues such as wages, hours of work or occupational health and safety. This recommendation has helped us to reach more workers, and there has been a considerable increase in the number of contracts and the certification of labor brokers.
Of course, there is still much to do to meet targets for individual programs. However, the report has provided insights that have enabled Balsu and Olam to draw up new action plans and test new activities to further increase the effectiveness of their remediation activities. We will continue our collective efforts to bring further improvements to workers throughout our supply chain.
Working to prevent modern slavery
Nestlé UK and Ireland published its second Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Report (pdf, 5Mb) in 2019. The report sets out Nestlé’s approach to dealing with the challenge of modern slavery and the progress made in preventing the risk throughout our supply chain.
Addressing forced labor through technology
Technology is providing new ways to promote human rights. Together with Business Fights Poverty, we are exploring the use of blockchain technology, which has the potential to enable greater supply chain traceability. This, in turn, can help us identify and tackle potential human rights abuses. In Thailand, we are working with Issara Institute to support seafood workers through the use of an app that provides access to advice and guidance, and in Malaysia, technology is strengthening access to grievance mechanisms in our palm oil supply chain.
Read more about how technology is increasing supply chain transparency.