We source thousands of tonnes of hazelnuts annually. They are an important ingredient in a range of our foods and beverages, including confectionery – especially chocolate – and pastries.
As well as being used whole, hazelnuts can be roasted, powdered and puréed.
Our approach to sourcing hazelnuts
While the bulk of our hazelnut supply comes from the Black Sea region of Türkiye, the world’s largest producer, we also source from Spain, Italy, Georgia and Azerbaijan. We do not source directly from farms – we buy from suppliers that obtain hazelnuts directly from farmers or through intermediaries.
In Türkiye, the hazelnut supply chain contains challenges, especially concerning labor conditions and child labor risks. We work closely with partners and suppliers to address these.
Since 2011, Nestlé has been working with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to assess labor practices in the Turkish hazelnut sector. Partnering with our suppliers Ofi, Balsu and Yavuz, we have supported remedial activities to bring systemic improvements in human rights and labor standards to the sector.
The FLA has carried out a number of farm assessments in our supply chain, which have highlighted the need to improve the living and working conditions for laborers, especially seasonal migrant workers from the southeast of Türkiye, as well as to provide safe spaces for the children of seasonal migrant workers as a way to address risks of child labor.
As a result, we have supported our suppliers to address social risks, including addressing child labor risks, improving the living and working conditions of seasonal migrant workers as well as mapping, training and registering labor contractors and formalizing working agreements between farmers, seasonal workers and labor contractors.
This aims to create better living and working conditions and address child labor risks, as well as create the circumstances for responsible recruitment.
To drive industry-wide transparency, we publish the list of our tier-1 hazelnut suppliers (pdf, 300Kb) in our supply chain and their corresponding cracking sites, along with their countries of origin.
Promoting the human rights and livelihoods of workers and children
Our three suppliers in Türkiye – Ofi, Balsu and Yavuz – all carry out a range of activities, interventions and collaborations designed to increase awareness of labor rights among workers in our hazelnut supply chain. They are also all engaged in projects that aim to improve working conditions and living conditions and reduce child labor risks. Our suppliers work with local authorities, universities, the Turkish National Employment Agency, the Agriculture Ministry and Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services to provide essential training.
Central to this work is mapping the seasonal migrant workforce and labor contractors to better understand the journeys they make, while providing training on labor rights related to wages, working hours, contracts, social security, and grievance and support procedures. Labor contractors are registered with the Turkish National Employment Agency and legal working contracts between farm owners, labor contractors and seasonal migrant workers are drawn up, in which workers’ rights are clearly stated. This marks a transformational change in the hazelnut supply chain.
There is a particular focus on preventing child labor risks, with a stipulation that workers’ dates of birth are provided during the registration process to help identify any underage workers, while training is also delivered on gender balance and women’s empowerment.
Workers are trained on the living conditions they are entitled to, such as shelter, hygiene, sanitation and nutrition. If needed, mobile toilets and showers are distributed to the living areas for seasonal migrant workers. Education in good agricultural practices is provided during harvest periods, and workers receive personal protection equipment.
We support our suppliers in running summer schools designed to help eliminate child labor risks from the hazelnut supply chain in Türkiye. The hazelnut harvest occurs during school holidays, and due to a lack of wider infrastructure and facilities, the children of workers often accompany their parents to farms, potentially increasing the risk that they might engage in work. To tackle this, we have worked with our suppliers to open summer schools that provide a safe space for children to go, where they can attend special educational and entertaining classes.
FLA assessments show that our efforts targeting child labor risks have been successful. In particular, villages with summer schools have seen a fall in the number of children engaged in child labor compared to those without.
As well as providing children with safe spaces and activities, summer schools raise awareness about child labor among teachers and local villagers. During the pandemic, our suppliers put measures in place to open safe spaces for smaller groups of children and sent them education kits with books and pencils.
Developing women’s skills
In general, there is a lack of awareness of social and agricultural issues among people in the hazelnut production process, especially around gender-based employment relations and child labor risks. There is also a need to help people boost their income.
The Women on the Road program, led by our supplier, Ofi, has impacted hundreds of women and men, each year. The project aims to emphasize the important role women play in the supply chain and to empower them with training about their rights. Information focused on occupational health and safety rules, reproductive health rights, child rights, careers and business life.
Gender stereotypes are common among workers in our hazelnut supply chain, and when roles and responsibilities are guided by gender, rather than by skill and ambition, girls immediately find themselves disadvantaged in education and training.
Our supplier, Ofi, set up a project to provide a neutral environment in which girls could learn and play alongside boys, participating in traditionally male-dominated activities such as football and science fairs. The aim was to break down gender stereotypes and offer the children a safe space to prevent them from working on farms during the harvest.
With many hazelnut harvest workers being seasonal migrants, there is a need to help ensure they have adequate living conditions and access to clean drinking water. As part of our responsible hazelnut sourcing program with our supplier, Ofi, we have improved living conditions for workers.
In partnership with local village heads, we restored and expanded some buildings to act as living areas during the harvest for dozens of seasonal migrant workers. We also installed mobile toilets and showers, which provide access to sanitation to over a hundred seasonal workers and villagers during the harvesting season.
Collaborating with industry partners to create a more sustainable hazelnuts supply
We support the FLA’s Harvesting the Future project in Türkiye. Now in its second phase, the project is a multi-partner and multi-commodity program designed to improve recruitment and employment practices for seasonal migrant hazelnut workers who travel as families from crop to crop for six to eight months each year. Aimed at improving labor and living conditions beyond the few weeks workers spend harvesting hazelnuts, and at addressing the root causes of child labor and forced labor through the entire migration cycle, the program is designed to identify practical and sustainable solutions that benefit workers and can be implemented by agriculture companies, labor contractors and farm owners.
The second phase of the project focuses on child protection and child labor remediation, the elimination of hazardous work for young workers, improving access to basic services for seasonal migrant families, strengthening responsible recruitment and grievance mechanisms and exploring the application of living wage standards.
We also support a public-private partnership between the International Labor Organization office for Türkiye and members of the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO), aimed at helping eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the seasonal agriculture sector. The project began in the provinces of Sakarya, Düzce and Ordu in 2013 and was extended to Samsun and Giresun in 2021.
The project facilitates the exchange of experiences between the government, the private sector, social partners and civil society in addressing child labor risks, particularly in the hazelnut supply chain. It also maximizes collective learning opportunities among the project stakeholders.