Position Statement

Empowering women to combat child labour

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Country: Côte d'Ivoire
To enhance our understanding of the role women play in the cocoa supply chain, the risks and obstacles they face, and their potential role in improving labour conditions, we asked the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to generate a specific gender report, when assessing working conditions in our cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire.
In April 2013, Nestlé published an Action Plan setting out in detail what the company will do in the short and medium term to strengthen our efforts to improve the livelihoods of women in the Nestlé cocoa supply chain. The Action Plan was updated in August 2014 following the publication of the Fair Labor Association’s (FLA) assessment of our cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire, which includes matters relating to gender.

Programme description

Women have a pivotal role to play in the fight against child labour, as they are often responsible for taking care of the household. Our vision is to empower women to improve their livelihoods and eliminate child labour by strengthening the three priorities of Nestlé’s Action Plan for Women in the Cocoa Supply Chain: promoting equal opportunities, giving women a voice and helping increase their income.
In 2014, we launched a series of gender awareness training in Côte d’Ivoire to open up more opportunities for women, and address a number of social and cultural barriers. We will extend this training to all co-ops by 2017.
In collaboration with the FLA, we will be working with women’s associations to widen their participation and increase their influence in the sector. As one of the key causes of child labour is a lack of income, we are also helping women to grow additional food crops to sell.

Value to Society

Nestlé believes that women empowered with more life opportunities, knowledge and skills raise healthier families, which leads to more children going to school, rather than working on farms.

Value to Nestlé

Cocoa is grown in poor areas, with little infrastructure or investment in education, health, water and sanitation. The combination of these factors leads to farming families depending on children for work on farms, being unable to afford to send their children to school, and suffering poor hygiene due to lack of clean water and sanitation.
This vicious cycle of poverty and lack of education perpetuates supply chain risks that Nestlé is working to eliminate with the help of farmers, suppliers, and other organizational partners.

Next Steps

Nestlé will assist an additional 45 women’s groups in creating income generating activities and we will trial innovative farmer training methods to attract more women. We will look at finding solutions to the constraints that prevent women from becoming direct cocoa suppliers in their supply chain. This will build on the gender awareness training for all Nestlé Cocoa Plan coops in Côte d’Ivoire.
We are also working actively with other companies within the World Cocoa Foundation’s CocoaAction strategy to agree on sector-wide activities that improve training, determine appropriate key performance indicators and agree on priorities for working with governments.