Nestle, one of the world's major chocolate producers, is still exploiting child labour, according to a report by the Fair Labor Association (FLA).
Last year, after more than a decade of concern about the extensive use of child labour in the production of cocoa, Nestle announced its intention to end the practice in its supply chain. At the time, Executive Vice President for Operations José Lopez, stated:
Child labour has no place in our supply chain... We cannot solve the problem on our own, but by working with a partner like the FLA we can make sure our efforts to address it are targeted where they are needed most.
This initiative was a direct result of a highly critical US government commissioned report, which found that the competitive nature of the industry
make(s) it impossible to effectively self-regulate and ultimately overcome the human rights issue of child labor at the root of their supply chain.
The now published FLA report shows Nestle to be reliant on extensive use of child labour in its Ivory Coast supply chain. The report finds that the root cause of child labour is poverty. The report calls on Nestle to take steps to regulate its supply chain by setting clear, contractual standards and monitoring compliance.
In response to the FLA report, José Lopez said:
The use of child labor in our cocoa supply goes against everything we stand for.
However, he went on to add:
No company sourcing cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire can guarantee that it doesn’t happen, but what we can promise is that tackling child labor is a top priority for our company.