Child labour and forced labour found in Nestlé's cocoa supply chain
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has found child and forced labour in Nestlé's cocoa supply chain. An FLA independent assessment was conducted as a condition of the company joining the FLA in 2012 and published in August. It involved ten unannounced monitoring visits to five cooperatives in the Ivory Coast which supplied Nestlé via the company's Nestlé Cocoa Plan (NCP), which represented approximately 20% of its total cocoa supply chain.
Regarding child and forced labour, the assessment visits found:
- Four children under the age of 15 working in the cocoa fields.
- One case of forced labour involving an individual from Burkina Faso, believed to be 15, who had been working without pay or documentation since he was 13. Money was reportedly being sent to his family but he received no direct pay.
- Seven other young workers between the ages of 15 and 18 were also found working on the farms.
- Children performed the same work (both hazardous and non hazardous) as adults, and worked the same hours.
- Some children did not attend school.
- Farms lacked an age-verification and documentation system, as well as a system to remove working children from the farms.
Assessors also found a number of health-and-safety-related non-compliances at all farms visited, including: lack of first aid kits, lack of trained health and safety personnel; inability to transport workers to a hospital or clinic in case of emergency; insufficient safety and personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for women; and improper chemical storage and disposal procedures.
Workers and sharecroppers were found to have not received training on Nestlé’s Code of Conduct.
Lack of any employment documentation at the cooperatives and farms (such as labour
profiles, employment contracts, hours of work, and compensation records) was said to have made verification of several code elements challenging.
Regarding gender disparities, in all co-operatives visited almost all the staff managing the internal monitoring systems were said to be men. Only one woman was found to sit on on any of the cooperatives' Board of Directors. Women were also under-represented in training programmes.
The company's Illustrated Supplier Code of Conduct, produced in 2013, was found to lack a non-discrimination clause.
The report stated that Nestlé's internal Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) assessors had also visited 3,382 farms by June 2014 and found that 1,682 children were categorised as child workers involved in hazardous work. The company was said to have begun remediation work for those children, including providing school kits, securing birth certificates as required for admission to school, and developing income-generating activities for mothers.
Nestlé was said to have developed and submitted a corrective action plan in response to the FLA monitoring visits.
This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live product guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables. Find out more about how we rate companies.