Child Labour icon CHILD LABOUR

Increasing insight

into a complex problem

Child labour in cocoa is a significant challenge. Understanding the scale and complexity of the problem is the first step towards finding the right solutions.

Child labour: what it is and what it is not

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), child labour is:

‘Work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.’

There are some age-appropriate tasks that children can legally do to help their families. When we talk about child labour, it is specifically ‘the worst forms of child labour’ such as those identified by the Ivorian government that we are referring to (see chart below).

Division of child labourers based on their relationship to the farmer

Both parents 82%
Uncle/Aunt 10.9%
Others 6.8%
Mother 0.1%
Father 0.1%
Grandparents 0.1%

Note: ‘Others’ includes cases linked to the farms of people unrelated to the child in question, such as neighbours or other members of the co-operative.

Forced labour

The vast majority of child labour cases we discover are children working within their own communities. Cases of forced labour are rare in Nestlé’s cocoa supply chain. Since 2012, we have uncovered only three violations of forced labour – two cases where wages were being sent to the parents of young workers and one instance where a farmer was holding a sharecropper’s ID documents. We immediately took action to report these cases.

Child labour in cocoa is a widespread and challenging issue, driven by multiple factors. Solutions must take into account these cultural, economic and social considerations.

Full Report 5MB