Nestle Committed to Eliminating Child Labor

Forced labor and child labor is a long-standing issue in cocoa production worldwide. This year Nestlé is taking steps to eradicate the use of forced labor and child labor in its cocoa supply chain, beginning with an independent investigation conducted by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a Washington-based civil society organization with Nestlé’s complete support.

The investigation of the cocoa supply chain revealed several child labor violations, subsequently instigating a plan to eliminate forced labor and child labor in the production cycle. (CNN June 2012)

Nestlé agreed to have their procurement system traced and assessed, making the company the first chocolate producer to map its entire cocoa supply chain. By tracing their supply chain, Nestlé will be able to identify violations, train workers on company work policy, and take action against any violations which are discovered.

The FLA discovered during its study violations including excessive hours, unpaid workers, and the use of child labor.

 

The recommendation from the findings of the investigation is for Nestlé to inform every individual involved in its supply chain about the company’s code of conduct which bans child labor and to ensure employees are trained to uphold this code. (CNN June 2012)

A primary area of concern is the high risk of the use of child labor on the Ivory Coast. Currently the Ivory Coast is still recovering from a civil war which devastated the infrastructure of rural communities, leaving no alternatives for Ivorian children but to work. (Yahoo News June 2012)

Nestlé has acknowledged the risk on the Ivory Coast and plans to develop a specific strategy for this area to improve practices. (CNN June 2012)

Nestlé’s Vice President of Operations stated to CNN “We are determined to make real impact and hopefully also to be used as a lighthouse to show others that it’s just a matter of getting started… My sense is that what we want to do here is to prove that it can happen.” (CNN June 2012) With the investigation comes accountability for Nestlé as the company will now be held accountable for maintaining code compliant cocoa.

We can only hope that Nestlé makes great strides and successfully eliminates the use of forced and child labor in its supply chain as soon as possible.

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