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Nestle Reportedly Failing on Child Labor

According to BBC News, a ground-breaking report done by Fair Labor Association shows that Nestle, the world’s largest food company “has been accused of failing to carry out checks on child labor and other abuses in part of its cocoa supply chain. A report by an independent auditor, the Fair Labor Association (FLA), says it found ‘multiple serious violations’ of the company’s own supplier code. The code includes clauses on child labor, safety and working hours…  FLA says this is the first time a multi-national chocolate producer has allowed its procurement system to be completely traced and assessed. It believes the flaws it uncovered apply to all the big chocolate companies.”

BBC reports that “FLA investigators tracked the journey of cocoa from the poorest and most remote villages to the exporters that sold directly to Nestle. They found that while Nestle insisted their primary suppliers – mostly big multi-nationals – agree to their code, it often went no further, despite Nestle knowing the supply chain involved many other stages.”

Rest of BBC News story

Full FLA report on Nestle cocoa supply chain, and Nestle’s action plan


  1. Barbara Crowther

    Thanks Jeff for drawing attention to this story, which actually was reported very differently, and I think, more accurately, by Reuters and some other news outlets eg: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/06/29/uk-nestle-labour-ivory-coast-idUKBRE85S1AW20120629. The BBC article also does not make clear enough that in fact FLA’s report was commissioned by Nestle themselves. This is in itself a groundbreaking move on their part. Whilst the findings themselves are certainly a timely reminder of what many of us in the fair trade movement know only too well – the continued presence of child labour and other working conditions problems on cocoa farms – the step taken by the company to conduct a much deeper tracking and assessment via a third party organisation, and also transparently publish both the results of this research and a new action plan, are very welcome. What FLA’s report clearly points to is that no one company or actor holds the key to a solution – we need for the whole industry, governments, NGOs and us across the fair trade movement too to step up our act once again in finding new approaches to tackling an ongoing endemic problem, including progress in tackling the terms of trade for small farmers in the cocoa sector.
    Barbara Crowther
    Fairtrade Foundation (UK)

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