Living incomes play an important role in building resilient communities and make a positive contribution to a regenerative food system.
We are using our role as a global food and beverage company to help enable and support resilient communities built on strong and sustainable livelihoods. Our Living Wage Initiative covers all direct employees, while we also work to improve the livelihoods of farming families throughout our supply chain.
We have invested in initiatives that are helping farmers improve productivity, access capital and diversify incomes. These plans are centered on the principle of spreading regenerative agriculture practices that respect the environment, support biodiversity and prevent deforestation while helping to increase yields and improve farmers' livelihoods.
With living incomes identified as one of our 10 salient human rights issues, we have worked with the non-profit Sustainable Food Lab to create an action plan that further addresses this issue – and will report on its implementation in 2025. We address living wages for our employees in a separate action plan.
Enabling a path toward living income
Empowering farmers and their communities
Through both the Nescafé Plan and Nestlé Cocoa Plan, we invest in initiatives that help coffee and cocoa farmers to improve crop yields, halt deforestation and implement regenerative agriculture practices that protect water resources and improve soil health and soil fertility.
Our key actions on living income
- Strengthen our risk assessment approach
- Implement dedicated living income programs in cocoa, coffee and dairy as priority raw materials for this action plan
- Align our approach to living income across priority raw materials
- Collaborate with peers and stakeholders to help address systemic issues and develop common approaches and tools for supporting a living income
- Raise awareness of and advocate for a living income within the sectors Nestlé is involved in, starting with priority raw materials
Our key actions on living wage
- Continue our Living Wage Program for Nestlé employees worldwide
- Launch living wage pilots for on-site contractors
- Engage and support prioritized direct suppliers to address living wage risks and impacts in their own operations
- Collaborate with peers and stakeholders to help address systemic issues and develop common approaches and tools on the topic of a living wage
Our income accelerator program helps cocoa-farming families work toward a living income
The Nestlé Cocoa Plan’s income accelerator program rewards farmers not just for the quantity and quality of their cocoa beans, but also for adopting practices that benefit the environment and their community. Through a mix of cash incentives and training programs, we are enabling and incentivizing farmers and their families to close the gap to living income and simultaneously tackling child labor risks.
Early results of the pilot, which involved 1,000 families of cocoa farmers, are promising. School enrollment rates have risen, pruning has increased the productivity of cocoa farms, and women have been empowered and more involved in decision-making, which has improved the allocation of family resources. The program has also had a substantial impact on income diversification.
More on this can be found in our progress report (pdf, 2Mb).
Addressing the living income gap in coffee-growing communities
The Nescafé Plan (pdf, 9Mb) was launched in 2010 as the brand’s global sustainability initiative. In 2022, the Nescafé Plan announced a pilot financial support scheme in Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire, and Indonesia to help farmers accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture. Activities include:
- Conditional cash incentives for adopting regenerative agriculture practices
- Income protection using weather insurance
- Greater access to credit lines for farmers
Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship
Better farming practices can improve crop yields. For example, pruning can improve the health and disease resistance of cocoa crops, resulting in a three- to four-fold increase in yield. Meanwhile, the Nescafé Plan has been distributing more climate-resistant and higher-yielding coffee plantlets to farmers. The plan provides special coaching for farmers – including female farmers – to cultivate entrepreneurship.
We are also helping farmers access capital to invest in their businesses where needed (for example through co-investment in regenerative agriculture, or Village Savings and Loans Associations). For many years we have encouraged farming families to diversify their incomes, for example by growing other crops or raising livestock. This helps mitigate their exposure to market volatility, crop disease or drought and improves cashflow between harvests of their main crop. In 2022, we also introduced ground-breaking incentive programs to help farmers reach a living income (see below).
We monitor our progress – in farming economics, social improvements and environmental benefits – in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance.