Nestlé Plans $1.4bn Investment in Cocoa Sustainability

January 28, 2022
cocoa sustainability child labour

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nestlé has announced a new plan to tackle child labour risks in cocoa production with an investment of about $1.4 billion (approximately CHF1.3 billion Swiss Franc) by 2030, more than triple of its current annual investment.

This is part of efforts to expand its cocoa sustainability efforts, with a significant part of the investment to be used to tackle child labour in Africa.

At the centre is an innovative income accelerator programme, which aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farming families, while also advancing regenerative agriculture practices and gender equality.

A cash incentive will be paid directly to cocoa-farming households for certain activities such as enrollment of children in school and pruning among several others.

Nestlé’s 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.

Speaking on the plan, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, Market Head of Nestlé Central and West Africa, “Child Labor is unacceptable. We are committed to working closely with key stakeholders to ensure that this novel approach will help address its root causes and support farmers and their families to transition to more sustainable cocoa farming in the communities where we operate. Through this new plan, we will extend our cocoa sustainability initiatives to other parts of Central and West Africa.”

Nestle believes that 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. These incentives are on top of the premium introduced by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana that Nestlé pays and the premiums Nestlé offers for certified cocoa.

This cocoa is independently audited against the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard, promoting the social, economic and environmental well-being of farmers and local communities.

Cocoa-farming communities face immense challenges, including widespread rural poverty, increasing climate risks and a lack of access to financial services and basic infrastructures like water, health care and education.

These complex factors contribute to the risk of child labour on family farms. Together with partners, including governments, and building on a promising pilot program, Nestlé’s new initiative sharpens focus on these root causes of child labour.

Examining this, Mr 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,” said

“Building on our longstanding efforts to source cocoa sustainably, 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,” he added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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