In 2001, Nestlé faced huge criticism for purchasing cocoa from the Ivory Coast and Ghana suppliers, which may have been produced using child slaves. "Research has found women are engaged in activities that enhance cocoa yields and quality, including early plant care and post-harvest fermentation and drying," its latest progress report says. "I did things randomly, with no knowledge behind it," she said in French, her head wrapped in a bright-orange scarf. Its research found some women in Ivorian cocoa communities were earning 70 per cent less than men. This additional sum, paid on top of the selling price of products, is used by farmers and producers to invest in local community projects. But advocates of Fairtrade – the most widely-recognised ethical mark in the UK, which sets a minimum price requirement for produce – have decried the decision, saying that the move will damage the livelihoods of 27,000 Fairtrade cocoa and sugar farmers in Africa. Cargill, a global trader, says despite the number of certified Ivorian female farmers providing cocoa to Nestle quadrupled since 2011-12 to 406, they represented only 4 per cent of certified farmers. In the shade of a cocoa tree near the tiny village of Yaokouakoukro north-east of the commercial city of Abidjan, Jeanne Kindo recalled the many years she farmed without knowledge, excluded from training because she was a woman. However, Tim Aldred, head of policy at the Fairtrade Foundation, the UK non-profit that licenses the use of the Fairtrade mark on UK products and promotes awareness of fair trade practices, has a more optimistic outlook. The corporation announced it would instead use Rainforest Alliance certification under its own Nestlé Cocoa Plan from October, with the ultimate aim to shift all their products to this scheme. Women get paid far less," spokeswoman Kelly Dent says. “Rumours of our imminent demise are certainly overstated,” he says. In 2013, we purchased 62 299 tonnes through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, rolled out child labour monitoring and remediation at 8 co-ops, built or refurbished 13 schools and trained 33 885 cocoa farmers (2012: 46 000 tonnes, 2 co-ops, 13 schools, 27 000 farmers). When food giant Nestlé announced it would stop sourcing some Fairtrade ingredients, it sparked much dismay. The suit alleges the company used seafood ingredients produced by slave labor in Southeast Asia. “This task of ethical consumption shouldn’t be on the consumer. Agathe Vanie, head of one of the few mostly female cocoa co-operatives in Ivory Coast, assisted by Nestle, says she has in mind four regions where she wants to replicate her nurseries and plantations. Nestlé says this ‘in-house’ certification would help guarantee one unified certification for responsible cocoa sourcing across all its products (the Cocoa Plan is already in use for its Nesquik and Milkybar brands), and it has pointed out that Rainforest Alliance has a particular emphasis on good agricultural practices. Timed in coordination with KitKat's 80th anniversary, the new announcement is part of the company's larger initiative to use more than 165,000 tons of sustainably produced cocoa by 2017. Nestlé Cocoa Plan delivers more sustainable cocoa. The corporation’s commitment to ‘better lives, better farming, better cocoa’ displays the array of work being done to improve the lives of their cocoa producers. There is a lot of debate and work going on, and some very helpful reports, but no clear answers yet.”. Nestlé Cocoa Plan: In October 2009, Nestlé announced "The Cocoa Plan." Esther Han is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald. In 2009 we launched the Nestlé Cocoa Plan recognising the challenges faced by cocoa farmers. She has covered state politics, health and consumer affairs. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. When farmers are unable to afford healthcare or tools to develop more eco-friendly farming methods, it can fuel extreme deforestation and damage the health of the planet and that of the farmers. But as it moves away from Fairtrade – as a certification system – the company will have work to do to convince critics that its in-house scheme can ever bridge that gap. Fairtrade chocolate boss Sophi Tranchell steps down after 20 years building the brand, as long-standing manufacturing partner buys majority share from co-op farmers. Jeanne Kindo, wearing the orange scarf, inspects dried cocoa beans.Credit:Esther Han. Before making the decision to leave and throughout its notice period with Fairtrade, Nestlé had “listened carefully to farmers” and “used their input to create a comprehensive package to support their needs through the transition”. "Twelve of the lowest-paying stages in cocoa production are reserved for women. As more developed countries gear up to rebuild the post-Covid economy, people working in food supply chains remain in a fragile situation, facing delays in selling their produce, the threat of the virus, and an unstable global market. The 2019 Nestle Cocoa Plan progress report reveals some of the work being done, including identifying children at risk of child labour in their supply chains and helping to integrate them into schools instead. She nows leads the Bametioh (meaning "for the sake of … This is a moment for citizens to be clear about the kind of recovery we’d like to see.”, But for a green future, some argue that sustainability needs to start in the supply chain, not the supermarket. Last year, a report by the Fair Labor Association found four children under 15 working at some of the 200 farms in the Ivory Coast that supply Nestlé with cocoa. Pioneers Post hears the story behind the coffee company's fall and rise. It’s up to the big companies to take responsibility for their sourcing actions, Greensmith is more critical of in-house schemes. Cadbury owner Mondelez says through its Cocoa Life program, it is promoting gender equality by recognising women as producers and providing better access to credit and training in skills such as felling trees and pruning. This is because the exploitation of food producers and unsustainable agricultural techniques threaten the resilience of the food system against future shocks like pandemics and climate-related disruptions. “If [Nestlé] are really committed to support farmers and workers on the ground, they should listen to the appeal and let the people decide their future.”. So if small producers are in critical need of support, why did Nestlé choose to leave? So if small producers are in critical need of support, why did Nestlé choose to leave? The Cocoa Plan is Nestlé’s way of helping to tackle key issues facing cocoa farmers, their families and communities to create a better future for cocoa farming. Tuesday, March 8, is International Women's Day. Actions include training in better agricultural practices, a plan to tackle deforestation, and promotion of gender equality in the cocoa farming communities. While there are signs of progress, the sheer number of producers – there are an estimated 2 million small-scale cocoa farms in Ivory Coast – mean the companies are in it for the long haul. Jeanne Kindo, wearing the orange scarf, inspects dried cocoa beans. Women cocoa farmers struggle with less pay, land and training compared with men. "Promoting a cultural shift to ensure gender equality in the cocoa-chocolate value chain is central to guaranteeing future resilience of supply and ensuring future generations find the occupation attractive.".

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