Back to News

Nestle to pay cocoa growers to keep children in school

Reference: Reuters

ZURICH/LONDON, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Nestle (NESN.S) will start paying cocoa farmers cash if they send their children to school rather than out to tend crops as part of a push to purchase all of its cocoa through a fully traceable, directly sourced supply chain by 2025.

Chocolate makers are coming under mounting pressure from investors, consumers and governments to make sure the cocoa beans they source were not produced using child labour or in illegal cocoa plantations in protected forests, both of which are common in West Africa.

The food group behind KitKat chocolate bars and Smarties confectionery said it will triple its current annual spending on sustainable cocoa to give a total investment of 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.41 billion) by 2030.

"Only by tackling the root causes, we will have an impact," Nestle's Head of Operations Magdi Batato told Reuters in an interview this week.

A recent survey by the University of Chicago found that among children in agricultural households in Ivory Coast and Ghana cocoa growing areas 45% were engaged in child labour.

To qualify for the payments, farmers have to send their children to school, prune cocoa trees, plant shade trees and diversify their income with other crops or livestock.

To check that children really are attending school and farmers are following the rules, IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, will monitor the programme with other third parties.

Children casually helping on family farms outside of school time do not fall under the International Labour Organization's definition of child labour... Read More