Nestlé has Tuesday reported significant progress in its efforts to tackle the issue of child labor in the cocoa communities of West Africa. Its latest ‘Tackling Child Labor’ report shows that it is possible to have a positive impact at scale. Providing education — for both children and adults — and improving livelihoods remain crucial to prevent and stop child labor.
In 2012, Nestlé took an important step to help vulnerable children in the cocoa sector by pioneering its Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System. This system allows Nestlé to identify, track and address child labor in its supply chains. Assistance is provided through community-wide solutions as well as those tailored to individual needs.
Over the past two years, Nestlé has almost doubled its outreach to include 78 580 children across 1 750 communities. In the development phase of the system from 2012 to 2017, Nestlé monitored over 40 000 children in Côte d’Ivoire and identified 7 002 as child laborers.
The system continues to be successful in identifying children involved in child labor, with over 18 000 children found. Through awareness raising and assistance, 55% of these children have been able to stop child labor activities. Nestlé will continue its efforts to provide solutions for all the children identified.
Since 2012, over 87 000 children within and outside Nestlé’s supply chain have benefitted from remediation, including the following educational activities: Building and renovating schools and funding bridging classes.
- Providing school kits / uniforms.
- Financing the issuance of birth certificates that give access to the education system.
- Raising awareness on the importance of preventing child labor with half a million farmers and community members.
Improving women’s literacy as well as providing support on other income-generating activities to support livelihoods.
Magdi Batato, EVP, Head of Operations at Nestlé, said: “Child labor is unacceptable. All children deserve the chance of a brighter future and we can best contribute to achieve that by giving them access to a quality education. That is why we committed to invest in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and continue to expand and refine our program. It is the right thing to do for farmers and their families who grow the raw ingredients we buy, but also for consumers who want to enjoy chocolate made in a sustainable way.”
The monitoring and remediation system is part of Nestlé’s broader approach to sustainability in cocoa. Over the past 10 years, the company has invested CHF 220 million in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. The objectives are to make cocoa farming more sustainable and improve the lives of those living in farming communities.
Alexander von Maillot, Global Head of Confectionery at Nestlé, said: “While we have made progress, we will not stop here. Our goal is to source 100% of our cocoa for confectionery from the Nestlé Cocoa Plan by 2025. As well as tackling child labor, this commitment also guarantees that we can contribute to greater productivity and profitability of farmers. This will help improve people’s lives in the many different parts of the world where we source cocoa.”
Building on the progress made, Nestlé will continue to expand its cocoa sustainability program by taking a holistic approach to improving livelihoods in cocoa-growing communities. The company will roll out its Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System across all its cocoa sourcing areas in West Africa. It will also continue to work with governments, industry peers and other partners to make a difference beyond its own supply chain.