The following abbreviations represent the following words in this report: -
CSR: The Corporate Social Responsibility
FLA: Fair Labor Association
ICI: International Cocoa Industry
UNICEF: United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
Nestle is a Swiss multinational corporation that operates in the food and beverages industry. In terms of revenue, Nestle is the largest food company globally. The company has over twenty nine brands under its product line. The company is a major player in the cocoa industry (Nestle, 2013). Barry Callebaut is another company that operates in the food industry. It is the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world. The company was formed through a merger of a Belgian company, Callebaut and Cacao Barry, a French company (Barry Callebaut 2013).
The cocoa industry is a booming industry with players in the industry raking in billions of dollars in revenue. Most of the raw materials for these countries are exported from plantations in the developing countries. This has presented many challenges to the cocoa industry. Most of the plantations are owned by people who use child labor because it is cheap. This has fuelled the child trafficking menace. Other challenges in the industry include poor education for those working in the coco plantations. These and other problems in the supply chain can be sufficiently dealt with by the players in the cocoa industry (International Cocoa Initiative, 2012).
Corporate social responsibility is a concept that requires organizations to assume legal, economic, moral and ethical responsibilities in all their activities and towards the communities around them (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2013, p.36). The supply chain refers to all the activities, information, resources and people involved in transferring products or services from suppliers to consumers. The cocoa industry is the conglomerate of cocoa and chocolate manufactures globally (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2013, p.36).
- Study objectives
This study aims to determine whether issues like child trafficking exist in African cocoa farms. The study will also determine the extent to which companies in the chocolate industry practice CSR. Finally, the study will establish what companies in the chocolate industry are doing in order to stem child trafficking and labor. This reported is commissioned by Right to Buy which is a national consumer magazine.
The report was informed by information acquired from the following sources.
- The Dark Side of Chocolate
This is a documentary that was released in 2010. The documentary primarily focuses on child labor and trafficking. This is a very important source because it edifies the issues in the cocoa plantations.
- Addressing child labor in Nestle cocoa supply chain in Cote D'Ivoire
This is a report that was published in 2013. It details activities hat Nestle is involved in order to address the issues of child labor in Cote D’Ivore. The report also provides findings on a consultative meeting with stakeholders regarding the company’s progress in addressing child labor issues in the country.
- Slavery in the chocolate industry
The source is an article from the (foodispower.org) website. The article primarily focuses on child exploitation and slavery. The article also outlines the challenges facing the children that work in cocoa plantations in Africa. The information contained in this article will edify the plight of the slaves working in cocoa plantations.
- Nestle sets out actions to address child labor in responses to Fair Labor Association report on the company's cocoa supply chain
This is an article derived from the Nestle website. The article outlines the efforts of the company in solving the menace of child trafficking and labor. The article also gives the aims the company has in improving the supply chain. It is a very important source because it also gives the CSR activities of the company and its partners.
- International Cocoa Initiative
This is an article from the international cocoa initiative. The article details basic information about the cocoa industry. This information includes a breakdown of the players in the industry, cocoa prices, where cocoa comes from amongst a host of other information. The information from this article will give credibility to the report.
- Barry Callebaut inaugurates new rural primary schools and community learning centers in Cote d'Ivoire
This is an article from Barry Callebaut official website. The article provides information on the projects undertaken by the company to stamp out child labor. The information in this article can be used t contrast the efforts by Nestle.
The connection between African countries and the cocoa industry
Ivory Coast is the largest cocoa producer in the world with over 40% of the global production. A host of other African countries rank in the top five cocoa producers in the world. These countries include Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo. Barry Callebaut gets its cocoa from Ivory Coast (Bastard film production, 2010). 75% of the global cocoa production is produced by Ivory Coast and Ghana (International Cocoa Initiative, 2012).
Despite the prevailing menace of child trafficking, it is noteworthy that the leading industry players signed an agreement forbidding child exploitation and trafficking in 2001 (Bastard film production, 2010). Child labor is rampant in West African countries where cocoa growing is predominant. Some of these countries include Mali, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. In these countries, children as young as seven years work in plantations without pay (Labor Association, 2013).
The reasons that push children to work on cocoa plantations
Children work in cocoa plantations for various reasons. The most predominant reason for this is to support their destitute families. Others work in these plantations as slaves after they are abducted and forced to work for measly pay and at time none at all (Food empowerment project, ND)
Children who have experienced slavery
Many children have suffered the indignity of working as slaves in cocoa plantations. The main challenge is that even though the children are forced to work, they are not paid. The children are also physically beaten in order to coerce them into working in the firms. For instance, Abdul, a slave in a cocoa plantation confided that they are given little food, torn cloths and intermittent tips from the owners of the plantations (Labor Association, 2013).
The role of individuals, companies and government in putting an end for the issue of child labor in cocoa plantation
The fight against child trafficking and labor is everybody’s responsibility. In this era of liberty and freedom, no one should be forced to work. Individual efforts towards stamping this vice will go a long way. Firstly, as a people we can all view children as beings that require the dignity that we strip them off when we force them to work (International Cocoa Initiative, 2012). Additionally, individuals can input by rescuing children who are forced to work in plantations. The efforts of the general secretary of the drivers’ union are Sikasso, Mali pose a good challenge to everyone. He has rescued numerous children from the trafficking cartels (Labor Association, 2013).
Nestle is a leading consumer of the law materials from the cocoa plantations. There a number of things that Nestle can do to put to an end the issue of child trafficking and labor in cocoa plantations. Through its CSR efforts, the company can help improve the lives of the communities around the cocoa plantations. For instance, the company can invest in education for the children (Labor Association, 2013). Additionally, the company should shun purchasing the raw material from plantations that use child labor. The company has done well to this end although there is a lot to be done. The efforts of the company are admirable, especially the stakeholder consultative meetings to strike out plans to reform the supply chain (Nestle, 2013)
As a consumer of the raw materials and the largest chocolate manufacture in the world, this company has a lot of influence in the cocoa industry. This influence can be harnessed positively to end the child trafficking and menace. The company has instituted numerous efforts to this end. The schools that the company has commissioned in the rural areas where cocoa plantations are located are meant to serve the children of the farmers (Barry Callebaut 2013). The new curriculum with topics on child labor and trafficking will serve to sensitize the local communities in the gravity if the issue. However, a lot more is needed in order to get meaningful progress (Barry Callebaut 2013).
Governments are the chief custodians of labor departments. Through the application of labor laws, governments can curtail the growth of the menace and in time exterminate the problem. The economic losses incurred by denying children education are so enormous that governments cannot afford to turn a blind eye. The establishment of special departments tasked with dealing with child labor issues (International Cocoa Initiative, 2012).
The low bargaining power of African communities has hurt their children immensely. The bad economic conditions in which they live force parents to push their children to work in cocoa plantations. There are a number of things that players in the industry can do to prevent the escalation of child trafficking (International Cocoa Initiative, 2012). However, it is evident that even though something is being done by these companies, a lot more needs to be done. The corporate social responsibility efforts of the two companies and the other players in the cocoa industry are worth noting. However, owing the fact that child labor and trafficking still remains rampant, a lot is desired from these companies (International Cocoa Initiative, 2012).
Barry Callebaut. Available from: http://www.barry-callebaut.com/ [accessed 30 May 2013]
Bastard Film Productions. 2010. ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate’. [online] [accessed 30 May 2013] Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vfbv6hNeng
Fair Labor Association. 2013. ‘Addressing child labor in Nestlé’s cocoa supply chain in Cote D’Ivoire’[online] [accessed 30 May 2013]Available from:http://www.fairlabor.org/sites/ default/files/documents/reports/nestle_cocoa_consultation.pdf
Food empowerment Project. ND. ‘Slavery in the Chocolate Industry’ [online]. [accessed 30 May 2013] Available from: http://www.foodispower.org/slavery-in-the-chocolate-industry/
International Cocoa Initiative, (2012). Cocoa: From trees to treats. [accessed 30 May 2013]. http://www.cocoainitiative.org/images/stories/pdf/ICI_Leaflets_presentations/ICI_Inform ation_Kit_-_April_2012_-_Cocoa_-_From_trees_to_treats.pdf
Nestle .Available from: http://www.nestle.co.uk/ [accessed 30 May 2013]