In 2017, we published our first-ever report on child labor in our cocoa supply chain, Tackling Child Labour (pdf, 4Mb). The report sets out our approach to addressing this significant, complex and sensitive challenge.
Our main tool for addressing child labor is our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), which works with cocoa-growing communites to raise awareness of the issue, identify children who are engaged in labor and implement remediation activities. In 2018, the system continued to expand in both C?te d’Ivoire and Ghana, covering more farmers and their children. The number of co-operatives has dipped as we lost some due to failed certification audits. We have continued to fund 21% of children surveyed participating in hazardous tasks in C?te d’Ivoire. The number of children we have helped has progressed well, with a further 11 130 assisted during 2018. Remediation measures included donations of equipment for school, such as notebooks, pens and pencils, the provision of birth certificates, and bridge schools, co-funded by the .
The number of children recorded as no longer working in child labor is frustratingly low. It will be an important focus for us in 2019, together with our partners.
Key child labor performance indicators*
* All data is cumulative from the beginning of the project.
Read more about our commitment to improve workers’ livelihoods and protect children in our agricultural supply chain.
The impact of our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System
Our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) is fully active in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan in C?te d’Ivoire and is being rolled out in Ghana. The assistance includes supporting activities that improve farmers’ incomes, and activities to help children return to or start school, including the provision of school kits and birth certificates. In particular, we have partnered with the Jacobs Foundation to improve education in disadvantaged communities and ensure children are learning basic literacy and math skills in community schools. This has so far benefited 981 children.
The system’s effectiveness was highlighted in an evaluation survey, which showed that in co-operatives where the system was set up between 2013 and 2015 a reduction in child labor of 51% was seen.
Using technology to help children access education
Within our child labor activities, we have developed Eneza, a project to promote the value of education in cocoa communities using innovative technology, and through this reduce child labor. Through the Eneza project, mobile phones are set up and children sent education content via SMS, including short summaries of national curriculum programs and offline access to Wikipedia and quizzes. Key features include a dedicated team to prepare content, provide administrative and technical support, and an on-the-ground presence to distribute materials. Thanks to Eneza, some 500 primary and secondary pupils in remote areas are now able to access educational material online.
The CLMRS is only sustainable if the farmer organizations can continue to drive the work using the premium they receive from the cocoa. Ensuring this transfer of responsibility is a particular challenge and a focus of our efforts.
The Fair Labor Assocation (FLA) continued its annual auditing of our C?te d’Ivoire supply chain, and its most recent report can be found on the FLA website.
Child labor is also found in our vanilla supply chain and is often the result of the labor-intensive nature of vanilla harvesting. We are working with growers and key partners to address this and provide remedies, such as better access to schools. Read more about what we’re doing in our vanilla supply chain to tackle child labor.
What we’re doing to combat deforestation
Nestlé is committed to eliminating deforestation from our supply chains by 2020. In 2017, we signed the Cocoa and Forests Initiative with the and the governments of Ghana and C?te d’Ivoire. Following this, we developed an action plan (pdf, 860Kb), including an aim to distribute 2.8 million shade trees in four years.