Nestlé responds to child labour criticism

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd July 2012

Nestlé has responded to a Fair Labor Association (FLA) report, compiled in November 2011, which found that Nestlé’s cocoa supply chain included the use of child labour in the Ivory Coast.

Nestlé has said that it will work with its partner, the International Cocoa Initiative, a foundation that works with the cocoa industry, civil society and trade unions, to set up a new monitoring and remedy scheme recommended by the FLA.

In a media release last week, Nestlé and its partners state that they will aim to involve communities in the Ivory Coast 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.”

José Lopez, Nestlé’s Executive Vice President for Operations, said, “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 the Ivory Coast can guarantee that it doesn’t happen, but what we can say is that tackling child labour is a top priority for our company.”

FLA Report

The FLA report stated that an effective strategy to eliminate the problem of child labour in the Ivory Coast must start by tackling the attitudes and perceptions of those in the cocoa supply chain and the communities in which they live.

“Nestlé does not own or operate farms in the Ivory Coast, but is well positioned to make a positive impact on the livelihoods of workers in the cocoa supply chain due to its leverage with its suppliers and the volume of cocoa beans it procures,” the FLA report said.

Monitoring and Remediation

A monitoring and remediation scheme will be piloted in 40 communities covered by two co-operatives of cocoa farms during this year’s cocoa harvest. The plan is to scale it up to include 30 more co-operatives by 2016, involving around 600 communities.

The FLA will evaluate how successful this model of child labour monitoring and prevention is over the next three years.