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Cocoa

Cocoa beans

Cocoa is a key ingredient in our confectionery products, and we are committed to sourcing 100% of it through our Nestlé Cocoa Plan by 2025.

Cocoa issues include deforestation, child labor and a lack of living incomes for cocoa farming households. The Nestlé Cocoa Plan, together with Rainforest Alliance certification, enables us to tackle these issues holistically.

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Our approach to sourcing cocoa sustainably

Most of the cocoa that we source for confectionery products comes from Côte d’Ivoire. In 2020, we purchased approximately 436 378 tonnes of cocoa. Our sourcing activities are primarily done through Tier 1 suppliers who manage commercial relationships with farmer cooperatives, although Nestlé also directly contributes to these relationships through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.  

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan is how we are building a more responsible supply chain for cocoa and have committed to sourcing 100% of our cocoa through this plan by 2025. We have identified poverty, deforestation and child labor as the key issues impacting cocoa farming and we are working with farmers, communities and local and international organizations to develop and implement solutions. These solutions are targeted through three pillars: 

  • Better Farming: providing training and resources to help farmers improve yields and quality, increasing income and improving livelihoods.
  • Better Lives: tackling child labor, empowering women and improving education to help communities thrive.
  • Better cocoa: Enhancing supply chain traceability and tackling deforestation.

In 2020, 124 053 farmers were engaged through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. Additionally, 202 890 tonnes of the cocoa we sourced throughout the year was supplied through the plan. As well as developing solutions to key issues, we aim to ensure that our cocoa suppliers comply with our Responsible Sourcing Standards (pdf, 2.4Mb) requirements.

Activity KPIs Country 2018 2019 2020
Number of farmers in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan Global 114 460 109 748 124 053 
Number of improved cocoa plants distributed Global 3 569 363 950 534 698 167 
Number of shade trees distributed globally Global 151 414 420 529 669 305 
Outcome KPIs
% farmers applying good agricultural practices Côte d’Ivoire 21% 28% 18% 

Activity KPIs Country 2018 2019 2020
Number of co-ops/farmer groups in Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) Côte d’Ivoire 89 87 83 
Number of farmers in CLMRS co-ops Côte d’Ivoire 67 074 73 248 79 021 
Cumulative total of schools built or refurbished Côte d’Ivoire 45 49 53 
Cumulative total of bridge classes run Côte d’Ivoire 55 98 131
Cumulative number of children benefiting from remediation activities (direct and indirect) Côte d’Ivoire   87 925 127 550 
Number of farmers in CLMRS Ghana 2859 2859 4876 
Number and % of children benefiting from remediation activities (direct and indirect) Ghana n/a 1107 / 78% 2399 / 75% 
Outcome KPIs
Number and % of children participating in child labor Côte d’Ivoire 17 590 / 21% 18 283 / 23% 15 933 / 18% 
Number and % of child labor cases followed up/assisted Côte d’Ivoire 11 130 / 63% 15 740 / 86% 14 154  / 89% 
Number and % of children no longer in child labor (% expressed out of number of children with two or more visits) Côte d’Ivoire 981 / 5.6% 2459 / 29% 3655 / 27% 
Number and % of children participating in child labor Ghana 1496 / 60% 1416 / 58% 1789 / 30% 
Number and % of child labor cases followed up/assisted Ghana 1210 / 81% 668 / 60%  
Number and % of children no longer in child labor Ghana 0 0 539 / 81% 

Activity KPIs Country 2018 2019 2020
Volume of Nestlé Cocoa Plan cocoa (tonnes) Global 198 155 183 361 202 890 
Nestlé Cocoa Plan cocoa as % of total Nestlé cocoa Global 49% 44% 46.5% 
Outcome KPIs
Average number of years co-ops have partnered in Nestlé Cocoa Plan Côte d’Ivoire   6 6.4 

Item 2018 2019 2020
Research and development, planting material distribution 6105 6614 3971 
Global co-operation, e.g. WCF CocoaAction 1405 1048 1306 
Nestlé Cocoa Plan projects 346 230 228 
CLMRS 4860 3350 3658 
Farmer cash premium 12 167 8776 8971 
Co-op premium, certification, training and other costs 21 937 21 447 21 550 
Total 46 821 41 466 39 684 

Transparency

Our cocoa is largely grown by smallholders. Our approach is to work with farmer co-operatives that group farmers together and provide traceability and records for all their purchases from each individual farmer.

Our direct Tier 1 supplier (pdf, 292Kb) manage the commercial relationship with these co-operatives and most of their sustainability activities together with the certification process. The Nestlé team manages some aspects directly, including the supervision of shade tree nurseries, gender training for co-operatives and the development of video training. We also trial new ideas that can then be scaled up by our suppliers. We aim to develop long-term relationships with the co-operatives, and several have been working with us for over eight years.

We also have created a suite of individual reports dedicated to specific areas of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, including the Nestlé Cocoa Plan Progress Report (pdf, 2Mb), the Tackling Child Labor Report (pdf, 5Mb) and the Tackling Deforestation Progress Report (pdf, 6Mb). In May 2021, we issued the Tackling Deforestation Progress Report Update (pdf, 10Mb).

Natural capital

Deforestation remains a major issue in cocoa regions, particularly in West Africa. In 2017, we joined the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, facilitated by the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation, with a strong focus on combatting deforestation and promoting agroforestry. In 2020, we worked with the initiative to map over 75% of the 120 000 cocoa farms we source from across Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

In March 2019, we published our Cocoa & Forests Initiative Action Plan. In 2020, we released our first Tackling Deforestation Progress Report (pdf, 6Mb), giving our progress against the plan. Throughout the year, we distributed over 669 000 forest and fruit trees globally to support the reforestation of cocoa-growing areas. The taller forest trees boost biodiversity which benefits the entire ecosystem, including soil health. Fruit trees offer cocoa farmers opportunities for additional sources of income and nutrition. In May 2021, we issued the Tackling Deforestation Progress Report Update (pdf, 10Mb)

Cocoa plants grow better, and produce better crops, when grown in the shade. As part of our Net Zero Roadmap (pdf, 7Mb), we are encouraging our farmers to plant more shade trees to protect their crops from heat stress and excessive rainfall. These trees will also help to improve water management, local biodiversity, soil organic matter and carbon sequestration, while providing an additional income source for farmers.

Protecting workers and children

Child labor is a complex and challenging issue in our cocoa supply chain, and is affected by many factors, including poverty, demographics, education, infrastructure and local culture. We work with supply chain partners and local communities in West Africa to address the causes of child labor. Since 2012, a key element in our work has been our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), which enables us to identify children at risk, raise awareness and provide remediation. Over the past 10 years, through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan we have invested CHF 19.3 million in preventing child labor through our CLMRS.

In 2019, we released our second child labor report (pdf, 5.7Mb), providing further insights into the successes and challenges of running CLMRS in Côte d’Ivoire. The report confirms that CLMRS is working well. Figures to date are:

  • 127 550 children within and outside our supply chain received prevention or remediation support.
  • 86 134 children being monitored, with 15 933 found to be in child labor.
  • 53 schools have been built or refurbished, benefiting over 20 000 children.
  • 33 992 school kits containing essential equipment have been provided to children.
  • 6277 birth certificates have been issued.

Our remediation work has helped us get approximately half of all children identified as being involved in hazardous work to stop performing those tasks at the first follow up visit. With poverty being a cause of child labor, supporting the livelihoods of cocoa-farming communities is also an important part of our strategy. We encourage income diversification and women’s empowerment, teach better farming practices and enable access to basic financial services.

Many individuals, communities and villages in cocoa-growing areas find it difficult to save money. We are supporting efforts to help them through a community approach. The Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) scheme openly ensures that everyone can see how much money is paid into a secure box and how much is going out if someone needs assistance. At the end of each annual cycle, accumulated savings are distributed back to members with interest.

This demonstrates that communities can save and provide support to individuals when needed, creating trust and bringing the community together. It also enables people to save for bigger purchases or to start their own businesses. Once trained, the communities can run the funds themselves, enabling the whole village to become more resilient.

Currently, 193 VSLA groups have been created for Nestlé Cocoa Plan farmers and their spouses, with between 15 and 25 in each community association.

Jean Marie Koffi Kouadio began working on his father’s farm in 2013, taking it over after his father’s death three years later. In 2015, he was invited to join the Nestlé Elite Farmer program. The training provided has allowed him to improve how he manages his farm and business skills through:

  • Planning and managing cash flow, margins, loans, savings, diversification and household management.
  • Farm rejuvenation by increasing the variety of cocoa grown and diversifying.
  • Becoming a lead farmer and sharing his agripreneurial mindset and learning with fellow farmers.
  • Participating in a number of international conferences to share his experiences.

 

I have a vision of becoming a young farmer leader who, by 2025, will:

  • Strongly involve well-trained young men and women in agricultural entrepreneurship by promoting success stories.
  • Expand the family farm business with more resources (diversification, intensive production, preservation of the environment and fighting against child labor).
  • Develop more professional and stronger farmer organizations.

Jean Marie Koffi Kouadio, cocoa farmer

Collective action and engagement

We are dedicated to improving societal and sustainability standards throughout our cocoa supply chains. That is why we have been a dedicated member of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative since it was established three years ago.

It is also why, in April 2020, we joined the Child Learning and Education Facility (pdf, 493Kb) coalition. Through this organization, we are supporting the development of quality education in rural communities in Côte d'Ivoire. The coalition has been promoted by the Jacobs Foundation, with whom Nestlé already partners to develop training for young people as part of the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities program.

In addition, we work with industry partners to call for stronger policies. Alongside various cocoa and chocolate manufacturers and civil society organizations, we have published a joint position paper (pdf, 423Kb) on the European Union’s policy and regulatory approach to cocoa. In it, we call for mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence to be established, alongside stronger partnerships with producer governments to ensure sustainable cocoa.


Related supply chain disclosure document

Report