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March 2012 C&CI • Child Labour • 41

The statement highlighted the fact that CAOBISCO has issued ‘Responsible Sourcing Guidelines’ recommending to member companies that they aspire towards implementing the points outlined in the guidelines (these include business integrity, sustainability, labour standards, safety, environment) throughout their entire supply chain and to strive honestly and ambitiously to achieve this aim. CAOBISCO and its members are active supporters of the development of the recently created CEN/TC 415 ‘Project Committee – Traceable and Sustainable Cocoa.’ Moreover, said CAOBISCO, many joint and individual company projects seek to introduce supply chain improvements and better farmer organisation which in turn will enhance the work towards supply chain traceability in the cocoa supply chain.

Wide-ranging efforts

In September 2010, the European indus- try joined a partnership with the US Department of Labour and Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and signed the Declaration of Action and Framework of Action to support the implementation of the lessons learnt over the past decade and accelerate efforts to reduce the worst forms of child labour. "The Framework of Action represents a new partnership with a common purpose and clear goal of bringing about an aggregate 70 per cent reduction in the worst forms of child labour in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana by 2020," said CAOBISCO. "To this end the Framework of Action aims to support new or expanded initiatives. The first Annual Report on progress that has been made over the past year towards achieving the goals of the Declaration on Joint Action and its accompanying Framework of Action was issued on 23 January 2012."

"In addition," said the association, "the chocolate and cocoa industries have also committed to a Public – Private Partnership with ILO-IPEC (International Labour Organisations’ International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour) focussing on community based Child Labour Monitoring Systems (CLMS) and capacity building of governments, social partners and cocoa farmers in combating child labour. Individual compa- nies also have multiple and extensive pro- grammes designed to create a sustainable cocoa supply chain." ■ C&CI

Nestlé becomes first food company to partner with FLA

Towards the end of 2011, Nestlé announced that it had decided to work with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to investigate whether children are working on cocoa farms supplying its fac- tories. The FLA is a non-profit multi-stakeholder initiative that works with major companies to improve working conditions in their supply chains. In January 2012 the FLA sent independent experts to Côte d’Ivoire to examine Nestlé’s cocoa supply chain. Where they find evidence of child labour, the FLA will identify the root causes and advise Nestlé how to address them in ways that are sustainable and lasting. The FLA’s role will be to provide expertise to help ensure Nestlé’s efforts to eliminate child labour are more effec- tive and transparent.

Nestlé said it was applying to become a member of the FLA, and is the first food company to do this. In the first phase of its work on child labour in the cocoa sector, the FLA will send a team of independent experts to the country to map the supply chain. The results of the FLA’s assessment, which will be made public in the spring of 2012, will guide future Nestlé operations. "Child labour has no place in our supply chain," said Nestlé’s Executive Vice President for Operations José Lopez. "We cannot solve the problem on our own, but by working with a part- ner like the FLA we can make sure our efforts to address it are targeted where they are needed most."

In the second phase, Nestlé will work with the FLA and other stakeholders including the gov- ernment in Côte d’Ivoire to address any problems that are identified. The FLA will assess the impact of these efforts and report publicly on the progress made regularly. Auret van Heerden, President of the FLA, welcomed the chance to work with Nestlé on labour issues. "Our approach shifts the emphasis from auditing and policing to finding out what the problem is," he explained. "We can help build up the capacity on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire to deal with issues we find, and then measure whether the remedial efforts are working." "In the past we haven’t been able to find a credible partner which has the capacity to help us with this kind of project," said Mr Lopez. "Now we have found an organisation that can help us contribute to addressing the problem of child labour."

José Lopez: "we cannot solve the problem on our own"

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