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Remediating Child Labour in Cocoa Supply Chains

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In September 2015, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) published a report on child labour in Nestlé’s cocoa supply chains. During an audit conducted in September—December 2014, the FLA found 25 workers less than 15 years of age working on 17 out of the 260 farms visited in Côte d’Ivoire. (This is a violation of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct, although the legal minimum working age in Côte d’Ivoire is 14 years old.)

To address structural problems in its cocoa supply chain, Nestlé — a multinational food and drink company — joined efforts with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to implement the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) and committed to publicly reporting on its results in Tackling Child Labour reports. The CLMRS in Côte d’Ivoire was later replicated in Ghana.

The CLMRS is a 6-step process that starts with home visits by Community Liaison People (CLP) to raise awareness of child labour (Step 1) and conduct surveys to identify children at risk of doing hazardous work (Step 2). Identified child labour cases are then entered into a database (Step 3) and the situation is discussed between the family and the CLP, who explains what children are not allowed to do and why (Step 4). Help is then provided to the child, family or community as appropriate and regular visits are undertaken to the family to confirm that the child has stopped doing hazardous work (Step 5). Finally, the overall effectiveness of the interventions is measured using quantitative metrics (Step 6), i.e. how many children have been prevented from entering child labour or have stopped doing hazardous work.

As part of the 2018-2019 due diligence cycle, the FLA and Nestlé conducted a detailed evaluation of the impact of Nestlé’s CLMRS. The FLA concluded that there have been significant improvements in the knowledge gap around legal requirements on light work and hazardous work among farmers; more children had been attending schools and fewer children had been involved in cocoa production activities. Nestlé reported that more than 18,000 children doing hazardous work have been identified since the launch of CMLRS. Over 50% of these children were successfully removed from hazardous employment during follow-up visits and assisted in getting access to quality education.

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