Corporate Eye

Nestle Responds to Child Labor Violations

Who made that Kit Kat bar you’re eating? There is a good chance that a child worked on a cocoa farm in the Ivory Coast that provided the cocoa supply used to make your Kit Kat bar. Those are the findings from the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which conducted an audit (per Nestle’s request) of the Nestle cocoa supply chain.

The FLA study reported that 80% of Nestle’s cocoa comes from channels that are “opaque” in terms of the transparency of their labor processes and practices. In a 2008 government survey in the Ivory Coast, it was found that 89% of the country’s children were involved in cocoa production in some way. According to Bloomberg, Nestle purchases 10% of the world’s cocoa supply, and more than one-third of that comes from the Ivory Coast.

Nestle is the first food company to join the FLA, and the company claims to be taking the numerous child labor violations discovered in the report seriously. The company reports that it will pursue each of the 11 recommendations that the FLA made in the report, including increased monitoring of cocoa farms, building and improving schools, and more. The infographic below provides some of the report statistics as well as the “Nestle Plan” projections.

Click the image below to view the infographic at full size.

nestle fair labor association child labor infographic

Nestle’s zero tolerance for child labor commitment is an important one that will take years to roll out. However, demonstrating its corporate responsibility is a positive branding story that might help Nestle navigate negative publicity related to child labor more successfully in the short- and long-term.

What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

It’s good to hear that Nestle at least appears to be trying to investigate and resolve these child labor claims. There are a lot of international companies that just want their product or service delivered and don’t care how it gets done.

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