ChildLabor in Nestle
Companiesare responsible for implementing the fair labor policies that protectthe rights of workers. The labor policies have been instrumental increating standards in the workplaces. The companies that comply withthe regulations earn desirable reputations that give them competitiveedges in their respective industries. However, some companies claimto be compliant with the laws, but they have several flaws in theirhiring procedures that allow the recruitment of kids. Someinternational companies have been victims of such malpracticesbecause of their global presence and inability of the managements toextend their authorities and monitoring to all the areas.
Inthe past one decade, Nestle has been in the spotlight ofinternational labor bodies for allowing the employment of juvenilesin its farms in West Africa. Nestle was established in 1866 by HenriNestle to produce condensed milk. After WW1, the demand for otherproducts led the company to conceive the idea of expanding itsproduction (Clarke). Although Nestle founded it as a small company,he ran into mergers with companies like Findus, Crosse &Blackwell, and Gerber. The company has its headquarters inSwitzerland, and it is the largest beverage company in the word basedon revenues (Clarke).
TheFortune Magazine ranked it among the best 100 companies in 2014. Someof its products include baby food, cereals, ice cream, confectionery,coffee, chocolate, tea, and snacks among others. The company operates447 units around the world, and it employs more than 339, 000. In2014, the company’s assets amounted to CHF 133.45 billion while thetotal revenue amounted to CHF 91.6 billion (Clarke).
ChildLabor in Nestle Farms
TheEmployment of Juveniles in Nestle firms hit the headlines in 2005after labor organization released its investigations. Nestle had notratified the Harkin-EngelProtocolthat denounced child labor in cocoa production. However, the companydid not follow-up up the recruitment processes in the farms. Adocumentary done on TheDark Side of Chocolateexposed the long-practiced breach of ethics by Nestle. In its IvoryCoast farms, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, childrenbetween the age of 12 and 15 engage in the daily activities (Clarke).Some of the children are from the neighboring countries, and theyenter the farms through trafficking.
Also,a report compiled by Fair Labor Association in 2011 found out thatNestle had been reluctant in eradicating child labor in its farms.The body found unimplemented policies after examining the company’ssupply chains in Ivory Coast. Additionally, the United States backeda report published by Tulane University in March 2015, whichindicated that more than 1.8 million juveniles in Africa work oncocoa farms. Ivory Coast bears the biggest burden of children workingin the plantations (Hawksley). According to BBC’s field reporterHumphrey Hawskey, who visited the Nestle farms in West Africa,children as young as seven years are involved in the removal of cocoafrom the pods using machetes.
In2015, the company became a media luminary for denying juvenileworkers their remuneration. At one of the farms in Divo district,young workers had not received their salaries for one year.Researchers from the Fair Labor Association also conducted a parallelstudy due to the internal pressure. They found out that at least 7%of the workers were below 14 years (Hawksley). The researchers weremonitoring the effectiveness of Nestlé’s code of conduct and itsapplication in the farms. The cited the farmers’ extremely lowawareness on their rights in the plantations as a primary concern.
Effectsof the Malpractice on the Company
Theemployment of children in the farms has had various detrimentalimpacts on its reputation. First, members in the cocoa industrycompelled the company to ratify the Harkin-Engel Protocol aimed atending the worst forms of child labor. Also, in 2005, the humanrights activists trawled the company to the courts for allegations ofsupporting children trafficking into the farms to offer cheap labor(Clarke). Furthermore, the organization’s reputation around theworld has suffered a significant laceration. Human rights watch andlabor groups have listed the company among the abusers of employees’rights.
Themanagement has expressed its commitment to deal with the problem ofchild labor. In 2015, the company conducted a study in its farms toassess the severity of the problem. The management reported havingidentified 3,933 underage workers in its farms (Clarke).Consequently, the company’s leadership devised a Child LaborMonitoring and Remediation Program with the objectives of providingschool materials, helping children obtain their birth certificates,and educating the parents on income-generating activities. Theoutcomes of the approach are yet to demonstrate reliable outcomessince the company has not evaluated them.
Conclusively,Nestle has been in the spotlight of the media and labor watch bodiesfor employing minors in its farms. The company has 447 units aroundthe world and numerous farms in Ivory Coast. Fair Labor Organizationsraised alarm over the increased number of children on the farms. Thecompany failed to monitor the provisions of fair labor practices.Consequently, its reputation around the world has suffered a blow.The management’s effort to remove children from the farms and tofacilitate their school enrollments may have desirable outcomes ifimplemented effectively.
WorksCitedClarke,Sander. “Child labour on Nestlé farms: Chocolate Giant`s ProblemsContinue.” TheGurdian.2ndSeptember 2015. Web. May 28 2015. Hawksley,Humphrey. “Nestle `To Act Over Child Labour In Cocoa Industry.`”BBCNews,28thNovember 2011. Web. June 28 2016.