Ferrero has published a “hazelnut charter” as part of efforts to address “complex” challenges in the hazelnut sector.
The charter is aimed at tackling issues such as child labour in the hazelnut supply chain which are “deeply rooted” in some countries, Ferrero said.
It is structured around three pillars: human rights and social practices, environmental protection and sustainability, and supplier transparency.
In terms of human rights, the firm is focused on child protection as well as improving the livelihoods of those within the hazelnut sector and enhancing farmer resilience.
Ferrero, which buys up around a quarter of the global supply of hazelnuts, said it was “determined to prevent and eliminate child labour all along our value chain”.
Ferrero aims to apply regenerative agriculture principles to its own farms and to support their adoption across its sourcing countries. It has also committed to achieving full traceability to farm level of sourced hazelnuts.
The firm has partnered with non-profit Earthworm Foundation as well as suppliers and other value chain actors as part of its commitment to creating a sustainable and ethical hazelnut value chain.
“The charter is applicable across all our hazelnut sourcing with an approach that is based on ensuring compliance with our own policies to which all of our suppliers are expected to adhere,” Ferrero said.
Marco Gonçalves, chief procurement and hazelnut company officer at Ferrero said: “Hazelnuts are at the heart of Ferrero. We have been actively engaged towards a sustainable value chain, through our sustainability programme, Ferrero Farming Values, and through collective engagement.
“The purpose of our new charter is to build on this work, in our aim to be a driving force behind a hazelnut industry that creates value for all. We will foster transparency by sharing our progress along the way.”
In 2019, hazelnuts used to make Ferrero’s Nutella spread were linked to child labour in Turkey. According to reports, children as young as 10 were found to be working at hazelnut farms alongside their families.
At the time it was reported that only 39% of the hazelnuts the manufacturer bought were traceable.
Last year, Ferrero announced it had partnered with the International Labour Organization on a 40-month project in Turkey to eliminate the “worst forms of child labour in seasonal agriculture in hazelnut harvesting”.
The $4m project will focus on the Turkish provinces of Trabzon, Zonguldak, and Şanlıurfa, to support the withdrawal of children currently working in the sector, as well as prevent others from entering it.
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