Nestlé will use study findings by the University of Tulane survey on child labor in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to reinforce its efforts to eliminate child labor in its cocoa supply chain.
While the survey shows that some progress has been made in tackling the issue, the company says it is clear that it remains a massive problem.
The underlying causes of child labor are complex, and industry, non-government organizations, governments, local authorities and communities must work together to eradicate it.
In 2012 Nestlé committed to eliminating child labor in key commodities including cocoa, and to establish a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), as part of its Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire.
The CLMRS employs local liaison people selected from farming communities to gather data on child labor, and provides cocoa farmers and their families with support so that children can attend school.
It recently extended the number of co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire covered by this system – implemented by its partner, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) – to 22.
There are plans to extend it to cover all Nestlé Cocoa Plan co-operatives in the country by the end of 2016.
To ensure that appropriate action is taken when child labor is identified, and to deter it in the first place, Nestlé funded the construction of 40 schools in Côte d’Ivoire to improve access to education for kids in communities where education infrastructure is missing and offer a viable alternative to farm work.
The company is also working to reduce the risk of child labor by training cocoa growers to farm more effectively and increase crop quality and yields.
It is also emphasizing the importance of equal opportunities for women – providing training and support to improve their lives through income-generating activities.