Nestlé has announced an innovative plan to tackle child labour risks, increased farmer income and achieve full traceability in cocoa.
At the centre of this plan is an income accelerator programme, which aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa-farming families, while advancing regenerative agriculture practices and gender equality.
A cash incentive will be paid directly to cocoa-farming households for certain activities such as enrolment of children in school and pruning, among several others.
The incentives will encourage behaviours and agricultural practices that are designed to steadily build social and economic resilience over time.
With Nestlé’s new approach, cocoa-farming families will now be rewarded not only for the quantity and quality of cocoa beans they produce but also for the benefits they provide to the environment and local communities.
Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, explained: “Our goal is to have an additional tangible, positive impact on a growing number of cocoa-farming families, especially in areas where poverty is widespread and resources are scarce, and to help close the living income gap they face over time.
“We will continue to help children go to school, empower women, improve farming methods and facilitate financial resources. We believe that, together with governments, NGOs and others in the cocoa industry, we can help improve the lives of cocoa-farming families and give children the chance to learn and grow in the safe and healthy environment they deserve.”
The new plan also supports the company’s work to transform its global sourcing of cocoa to achieve full traceability and segregation for its cocoa products. As Nestlé continues to expand its cocoa sustainability efforts, the company plans to invest a total of CHF 1.3 billion by 2030.
This new effort will help transform the supply chain of Nestlé and the broader industry. Nestlé will introduce a range of products with cocoa sourced from this innovative programme, offering consumers the opportunity to support the improvement of the families’ livelihoods and the protection of children. This will start with a selection of KitKat products in 2023.
Magdi Batato, Executive Vice President and Head of Operations, added: “Our actions can help catalyse change on an important topic that is so close to our hearts. They will drive accountability and transparency across the industry, at a time when customers, employees and communities increasingly expect companies to deliver on their shared values.
“By increasing traceability at scale, we will help build consumer trust in our products and respond to the growing demand for responsibly and sustainably sourced cocoa.”
This announcement builds on Nestle’s efforts to tackle child labour risks in cocoa production. The company has invested in sustainability through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan since 2009. Through a robust monitoring and remediation system instituted since 2012, 149,443 children have been assisted to protect them against the risk of child labour, and 53 schools have been built or refurbished.