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Nestle to Address Child Labour in Cocoa Supply Chain

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Nestle to Address Child Labour in Cocoa Supply Chain

Nestle to Address Child Labour in Cocoa Supply Chain
July 02
11:02 2012

Nestle and its partners will involve communities in Cote d’Ivoire in a new effort to prevent the use of child labour in cocoa-growing areas by raising awareness and training people to identify children at risk, and to intervene where there is a problem. The initiative is part of an action plan drawn up by Nestle in response to a report on the company’s cocoa supply chain in the West African country by the Fair Labor Association (FLA). It builds upon existing efforts to develop a more sustainable cocoa supply through the Nestle Cocoa Plan.

“The use of child labour in our cocoa supply chain goes against everything we stand for. As the FLA report makes clear, no company sourcing cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire can guarantee that it doesn’t happen, but what we can say is that tackling child labour is a top priority for our company,” says Jose Lopez, Nestle’s executive vice president for operations.

The FLA concluded that, with some adjustments and improvements, the Nestle Cocoa Plan can become a well-rounded developmental programme. The plan, along with the other initiatives Nestle participates in, provides the building blocks for a more robust and deep reaching effort, the FLA experts say in their report.

They found that child labour is a reality on cocoa farms in Cote d’Ivoire and has its roots in a combination of factors including poverty and the socio-economic situation of the farmers and their families. The report says an effective strategy to eliminate the problem must start by tackling the attitudes and perceptions of those in the cocoa supply chain and the communities in which they live.

Nestle does not own or operate farms in Côte d’Ivoire, but is well positioned to make a positive impact on the livelihoods of workers in the cocoa supply chain, the FLA says, due to its leverage with its suppliers and the volume of cocoa beans it procures. The FLA made 11 recommendations to Nestle, all of which the company fully supports and is acting upon, in some cases in collaboration with its partners.

Nestle welcomes the FLA’s finding that its ‘Cocoa Plan’ lays the foundations for strengthening and mounting further efforts to achieve its ambition of cocoa supply chains free from child labour. The Nestle Cocoa Plan aims to enable farmers to run profitable farms, to eliminate the use of child labour on those farms and to ensure a sustainable supply of cocoa.

It is designed to create value throughout the supply chain, particularly for the farmers and their families, but also for the company’s shareholders, an approach Nestle calls Creating Shared Value.

The company believes that improving and scaling up the ‘Nestle Cocoa Plan’ will help ensure there is a sustainable flow of cocoa to Nestle from Côte d’Ivoire. Nestle has pledged to source 10% of its global cocoa supply this year from farmers covered by the Nestle Cocoa Plan. It plans to scale this up to 15% in 2013.

More than 6,000 cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire have received training in 2012 as part of the plan. Over 800,000 better quality cocoa plants have been distributed to them. By 2015 Nestle aims to train a further 24,000 farmers in the country, and deliver a further three million plantlets.

In March the company opened the first school it has built for a Nestle Cocoa Plan co-operative. Over the next four years, Nestle, with its partner the World Cocoa Foundation, plans to build or refurbish 40 schools for other communities that have been identified as in need.

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