Nestlé has officially confirmed it is involving communities in the Ivory Coast in a new effort to reduce child labour, following a Fair Labor Association (FLA) report from November 2011.
Following the release of the FLA report, which included accusations that children are employed on cocoa farms that supply to its factories, Nestlé announced it would conduct an investigation into the presence of child labour in its business.
Nestlé partnered with FLA, a non-profit organisation that works with large companies to improve working conditions at various levels of the supply chain.
Nestlé has also 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.
Nestlé announced in a media release last week that the aim of the partnerships is 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.”
“The use of child labour in our cocoa supply chain goes against everything we stand for,” José Lopez, Nestlé’s Executive Vice President for Operations, said.
“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.”
An effective strategy to eliminate the problem of child labour in the Ivory Coast needs to address and change the attitudes and perceptions of those in the cocoa supply chain and the communities where they live, the FLA report said.
“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.
Some of the measures put in place include a monitoring and remediation scheme to be trialled in 40 communities covered by two co-operatives of cocoa farms during the 2012 cocoa harvest, with plans to include 20 more co-operatives by 2016.
This would mean about 600 communities would be involved, and would begin to change some of the attitudes.