International Cocoa Initiative
The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) is a Swiss-based, non-profit foundation that works to ensure a better future for children in cocoa-growing communities. It is a multi-stakeholder partnership advancing the elimination of child labour and forced labour, by uniting the forces of the cocoa and chocolate industry, civil society, farming communities, governments, international organisations and donors.. Its Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) fulfils Step 6: Provide For/Cooperate In Remediation of the Gender-Responsive Due Diligence process.
The CLMRS, established by the ICI in 2012, is the leading method of remediation and detection of child labour. It uses the structure of the supply chain and community groups to identify where children are working and remedy those cases. Thus far, 215,746 children have been positively affected by the CLMRS.
The activities in the system engages the community by allowing members of the cooperatives, the provider’s staff and wider community to be the facilitators. They are responsible for creating awareness about eliminating child labour, identifying cases and requesting remediation. These facilitators are trusted members that receive training on how to carry out these activities and duties. This causes a positive ripple-effect across the communities which ensures a sustainable remedy to child labour.
Nestlé is one of the enterprises in the industry that has implemented the CLMRS in their supply chain. They give extensive reports on the impact of CLMRS, using gender-disaggregated data to measure the effectiveness of different remediation activities.
“One of our foremost objectives is to understand which types of remediation are most effective for which children. This can help us offer the most effective help and support to children identified in child labor”
Nestle is publicly using and sharing impact from the CLMRS. The most recent online information about Neslte’s use of this mechanism is from their 2019 Child Labour report which covers the period 2012-2019. From this, we can learn that:
- The CLMRS logs and tracks reported cases, support provided, and remediation activities using mobile data collection, with each child being assigned a unique code so that progress can easily be tracked over time. The level of household data captured allows Nestle to understand the factors that make some children more at risk of child labor than others and enables impact analysis of different remediation activities.
- In 2019, 73,248 farmers and 78,580 children aged 5-17 were being monitored by the CLMRS. 18,283 (23%) of these children were identified as being involved in some kind of child labour – 15,740 (86%) had received at least one form of remediation at the time of the report.
- To understand the impact of remediation, an internal evaluation run by Nestle in 2019 interviewed a representative sample of children. The data indicated that 55% of children were no longer doing hazardous work at their most recent follow-up visit (using like for like comparison to the 2017 evaluation – this drops to 49% taking into account changes to legislation around what constitutes child labour).
- Nestle see their role in remediation as being about supporting children, their families and communities to remove children from a situation of risk – both preventing children from doing hazardous work in the first place, and helping children who are engaged in hazardous work to stop. This is why they are using a community led approach. Nestle’s efforts have focused on education, activities to improve family income and assistance with farm-related work – often at the root of child labour (GRDD Step 2). Remediation activities have included: provision of school kit and birth certificates (needed to enrol at school), vocational training, literacy classes for parents, tutoring and bridging classes.
- Nestle’s review of seven years of running the CLMRS provides the following lessons:
- A child who receives remediation support in addition to awareness-raising is 9.5% more likely to stop participating in hazardous work
- The provision of birth certificates, tutoring and targeted awareness-raising are more effective for girls than for boys. Income-generating activities and community service groups for adults are more effective in stopping boys from doing hazardous work.
- Awareness raising, income-generating activities and adult literacy classes for parents are more effective at helping younger children than older ones. Overall, it is more difficult to stop older children from doing hazardous tasks.
There are extensive lessons learned and recommendations collated in Nestle’s 2019 Child Labour report (demonstrating GRDD Step 5) which are beneficial to others working in a similar sector or with similar risks. Nestle’s remediation approach is now used by leading chocolate brands in a collective effort to eliminate child labour.
Application to other enterprises
The CLMRS is an example of Gender-Responsive Due Diligence as it involves remedying issues within the children’s households, similar to those mentioned in the other case studies, to ensure that they are not forced to work. Yet, other enterprises should take CLMRS even further by focusing more on gender equality in the system. This would be beneficial to help eradicate child labour while still maintaining a gendered lens to Responsible Business Conduct.
This case study was written in collaboration with Plan International and Partnering for Social Impact.