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Tackling child labour

Olam is against all forms of child exploitation and works actively through a number of programmes to prevent it. We will take immediate action should we find any instance of labour law contravention in any part of our business and supply chain. We are absolutely committed to the responsible and sustainable management of our supply chains from seed to shelf.

We are vigilant against any practices that are not in compliance with national and international laws and conventions and investigate as a matter of urgency if information indicates any inappropriate labour practices are taking place.

We acknowledge that in general child labour on smallholder cocoa farms in West Africa continues to be an issue that the industry as a whole must tackle and this requires joint efforts across cocoa buyers, chocolate manufacturers, governments, industry associations, NGOs and foundations. Education and training are key, as well as helping farmers improve the yield and quality of their cocoa crop, so that their extra earnings can pay for adult labour.

Learn more about how we’re tackling child labour here.

In addition to our own stringent requirements within our cocoa supply chain and adherence to all applicable national and international labour laws and regulations, we are Board / Founding members of a number of active multi-stakeholder groups including World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), CocoaAction, and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI).

Olam was the first agri-business to take the initiative to become a member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to help us strengthen our processes and monitoring systems, as well as to provide transparency.

We have also been active in setting up Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS). With the support of FLA, manufacturer customers and Rainforest Alliance, we conducted a pilot CLMRS programme with 3 cooperative suppliers on 2013, after which CLMRS have since been established at over 140 cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire. Each cocoa producing community or cooperative section has a representative delegate on the CLMRS in order to ensure implementation and effectiveness and this same system is now being expanded to cooperatives in Ghana. To ensure the correct functioning of the CLMRS committees, we are now financing the salaries of the Group Administrators, CLMRS personnel and Farmer Trainers at over 110 cooperatives.

If any cases of child labour are identified by CLMRS then we ensure the appropriate sensitisation and remediation is conducted, namely the facilitation of obtaining birth certificates, payment of school fees, distribution of school kits, and alternative Income Generation Activities (IGA) for families. These activities are now being taken on by the respective cooperatives and we request that 30% of the certification premium received by the cooperative is spent on these specific social actions.

Further support includes our continued work on improving access to schools in cocoa growing communities by refurbishing existing schools or constructing new schools. In 2015 we inaugurated the Dominique Ouattara School Complex in San Pedro, Côte d’Ivoire, a joint construction project between Olam Cocoa and Blommer Chocolate Co. and received a very generous supporting donation in food and equipment from the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire as part of the effort. As of Q2 2017 we have partnered with branded chocolate confectionery companies and sustainability partners to construct 18 new schools in Côte d’Ivoire. Additionally, with a co-financing grant from Conseil Café-Cacao (CCC) 42 teacher residences were constructed at 7 schools and solar panels and medical equipment provided for 8 health centres at an investment of US$950,000.

Read more how Olam is tackling child labour in Côte d’Ivoire here