Nestlé welcomes the publication of the University of Tulane survey on child labour in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and will use its findings to reinforce its efforts to eliminate child labour in its cocoa supply chain.
While the Tulane survey shows that some progress has been made in tackling the issue, it is clear that it remains a massive problem. The underlying causes of child labour are complex, and industry, NGOs, governments, local authorities and communities must work together to eradicate it.
In 2012 Nestlé committed to eliminating child labour in key commodities including cocoa, and we were the first cocoa buyer to establish a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), as part of our Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Côte d'Ivoire.
The CLMRS employs local liaison people selected from farming communities to gather data on child labour, and provides cocoa farmers and their families with support so that children can attend school.
We recently extended the number of co-operatives in Côte d'Ivoire covered by this system – implemented by our partner, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) – to 22, and plan to extend it to cover all Nestlé Cocoa Plan co-operatives in the country by the end of 2016.
To ensure that appropriate action is taken when child labour is identified, and to deter it in the first place, Nestlé funded the construction of 40 schools in Côte d’Ivoire to improve access to education for kids in communities where education infrastructure is missing and offer a viable alternative to farm work.
Nestlé is also working to reduce the risk of child labour by training cocoa growers to farm more effectively and increase crop quality and yields. In addition, we are emphasising the importance of equal opportunities for women – providing training and support to improve their lives through income-generating activities.