A report into the latest achievements, challenges and lessons from their efforts to end child labour in cocoa, has been released today by Nestlé, in partnership with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). Launched at the annual meeting of the ILO’s Child Labour Platform, the Tackling Child Labour 2017 report is a comprehensive account of one company’s actions to stamp out child labour in its cocoa supply chain.

The report particularly outlines the impact and potential of ICI’s innovative model for identifying and addressing child labour in the supply chain. Evaluations into this Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) have revealed its potential to reduce child labour by more than 50% over a three-year period.

Designed by ICI and implemented in Nestlé’s Cocoa Plan supply chain since 2012, the CLMRS has identified thousands of children at risk of child labour. The fact that it is based in the communities and run by the farmers themselves has allowed them to share information with confidence, encouraging them to declare when they might be using their children on the farm, and helping them find alternatives and solutions that protect their children. Over 5,000 children are already being helped based on the individual needs of their families, and the various, differing causes for their work, ranging from household poverty, to a lack of schooling options, to insufficient awareness about the issue .

“What we are trying to do with the system is keep child labour on the surface”, says Nick Weatherill, Executive Director of ICI. “Farmers realise we are there to help them with the daily challenges they face, and as a result child labour stays visible. It is only when an issue is visible that you can solve it.” To date 48,000 farmers and their children have been reached by Nestlé’s CLMRS, which eventually will cover all cooperatives within the Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The company plans to source over 50% of its total anticipated global supply of cocoa through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan by 2020.

“Through adopting an open and realistic reporting approach, we hope that our insights will help other actors respond effectively to the issue”, said Darrell High, Nestlé Cocoa Plan Manager.

The ICI membership forum for sharing of results and learnings has allowed CLMRS to be adopted as industry best practice, including in its CocoaAction strategy. ICI is currently working with seven other ICI member companies to implement CLMRS, and other companies are piloting variations of the approach.  This will drive a continuous learning process to further refine and improve the model, feeding the ambition expressed in the report that this experience may also help to tackle child labour in other agricultural sectors, beyond cocoa. Read the full report here