Nestlé is taking steps to address child labor in cocoa production and increase supply chain traceability with a new program that includes paying farmers cash for such things as enrolling their children in school. WOW! Nestlé is extending their 2020 pilot with 1,000 farmers in the Ivory Coast of West Africa that enables families to earn around $540 annually for the first two years and around $270 each additional year. To put the dollars in perspective – the average income in 2020, the most recent reported year, is the equivalent of $660.
In addition to decreasing child labor and increasing cocoa sourcing traceability, the program is meant to advance regenerative agriculture practices and gender equality. Other eligible practices to receive the cash incentive include growing other crops, raising livestock, and beekeeping — all intended to generate diversified incomes. Nestlé has committed to investing nearly $1.4 billion by 2030. This year, 10,000 families in the country will be eligible, and the program will be extended to Ghana in 2024, eventually reaching all cocoa-farming families in the company's global cocoa supply chain by 2030. The money will be distributed during periods of the most need, Nestlé said, such as the back-to-school period and before the rainy season, and they’ll work with such organizations as the International Cocoa Initiative and Rainforest Alliance to monitor participation.
The program also leverages farmer feedback and third-party data collection and evaluation to modify and improve the program during scaling, as well as receive guidance from a multi-stakeholder strategic advisory committee managed by IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative. Kudos to Nestlé.