Sunday, July 21, 2024

Nestlé addresses child labour, sustainability and traceability

Nestlé has announced a new plan to tackle child labour risks in cocoa production, with an income accelerator program at its centre.

According to the company, this will aim to improve the livelihoods of cocoa-farming families, while also regenerating agriculture practices and gender equality.

In addition, the plan will support Nestlé’s global sourcing of cocoa to achieve full traceability and segregation for its cocoa products.

“Our goal is to have an additional tangible, positive impact on a growing number of cocoa-farming families, especially in areas where poverty is widespread and resources are scarce, and to help close the living income gap they face over time,” says Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider.

“Building on our longstanding efforts to source cocoa sustainably, we will continue to help children go to school, empower women, improve farming methods and facilitate financial resources.

“We believe that, together with governments, NGOs and others in the cocoa industry, we can help improve the lives of cocoa-farming families and give children the chance to learn and grow in the safe and healthy environment they deserve.”

Income accelerator program

The income accelerator program, says Nestlé, offers a novel approach to helping support farmers and their families in their transition to more sustainable cocoa farming.

According to the company, the incentives will encourage behaviours and agricultural practices that are designed to steadily build social and economic resilience over time.

With Nestlé’s new approach, cocoa-farming families will now be rewarded not only for the quantity and quality of cocoa beans they produce, but also for the benefits they provide to the environment and local communities.

Examples of practices that Nestlé is incentivising include:

  • School enrolment for all children (ages six to 16) in the household
  • Implementing good agricultural practices, such as pruning
  • Performing agroforestry activities to increase climate resilience, like planting shade trees
  • Generating diversified incomes

The program also offers financial incentives for the farmer’s spouse, who is typically responsible for household expenses and childcare. By dividing the payments between the farmer and the spouse, the program intends to help empower women and improve gender equality.

These incentives are on top of the premium introduced by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana that Nestlé pays, and the premiums Nestlé offers for certified cocoa.

Implementing sustainable, scalable practices

Building on the positive results of an initial pilot in 2020 with 1000 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Nestlé is expanding the program this year to include 10,000 families in the country, before extending it to Ghana in 2024.

It will then assess the results of that test phase and adapt where necessary, before moving to reach all cocoa-farming families in its global cocoa supply chain by 2030.

Nestlé will help ensure farmers have the resources, training and social and financial structures to make lasting changes by:

  • Enhancing the existing monitoring and remediation system to help identify, prevent and address child labour risk and increase school enrolment
  • Offering families training through the Gender Action Learning System and on household financial planning and entrepreneurship
  • Organising and training local groups to perform pruning and other beneficial agricultural tasks within a given cooperative each year
  • Providing income diversification opportunities for farmers and their spouses
  • Helping set up Village Savings and Loans Associations, focused on women, to encourage savings and provide loans for small business opportunities.

Tracing all cocoa from origin to factory

As part of the program, Nestlé will transform the global sourcing of cocoa to achieve full traceability and segregation of its cocoa products from origin to factory.

The company will introduce a range of products with cocoa sourced from this program. This will start with a selection of KitKat products in 2023.

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