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We source around 3895 tonnes of hazelnuts annually. They are an important ingredient for us, being used in a range of foods and beverages, including confectionery – especially chocolate – pastries and ice cream. As well as being used whole, hazelnuts can be roasted, powdered and puréed. The hazelnut supply chain contains serious challenges, especially over labor conditions and child labor. We work closely with partners and governments to address these.

Sourcing hazelnuts responsibly

We carry out assessments to understand the conditions in hazelnut farming wherever we source from.

The bulk of our supply of hazelnuts comes from the western and eastern parts of the Black Sea region of Turkey, the world’s largest hazelnut producer. We do not source directly from the farms but from a small number of suppliers, who obtain the hazelnuts through a chain of intermediaries. In order to drive industry-wide transparency, we are making available (pdf, 364Kb) the list of our Hazelnut Tier 1 suppliers and the list of their cracking sites, along with the country of origin.

As Turkey provides most of our supplies, it is there that we focus the main part of our responsible sourcing activities. In 2017, we extended our farm assessment work to our hazelnut sourcing regions in Italy and Spain to better understand the conditions in these regions related to hazelnut farming.

Our main sources of hazelnuts

Italy, Spain, Turkey.

Our progress

CSV - Hazelnuts - responsibly sourced


of our total hazelnut volume purchased in 2018 was responsibly sourced

CSV - Hazelnuts - traceable


of our total hazelnut volume purchased in 2018 was traceable to its source

CSV - Hazelnuts - child labour


children benefited in 2017 from our activities to address child labor in hazelnut orchards

Supply chain challenges and solutions

The most widespread and serious challenges in the hazelnut supply chain in Turkey are around safe and healthy living and working conditions for laborers, especially the many temporary migrant workers employed during the harvest period, and the existence of child labor. In the summer, tens of thousands of seasonal migrant workers, mostly from the southeast region of Turkey bordering Syria, travel across the country to harvest hazelnuts for 30–45 days. Children often work alongside their parents in the hazelnut gardens. This has had a direct impact on the incidence of child labor in Turkey in various industry sectors, including agriculture.

Labor conditions

Pilot testing the USDA’s new guidelines on child labor and forced labor

In 2018, we completed a pilot of the USDA’s Guidelines for Eliminating Child Labor and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains, a collaboration with the Fair Labor Association, Turkish government agencies and our two hazelnut suppliers in the Black Sea region of Turkey, Olam and Balsu.

Working together, we identified the risks of child labor and forced labor in the hazelnut supply chain, which relies on tens of thousands seasonal migrant workers. We then strengthened our capacity to address these risks. In June 2018, the FLA published a report on the project (pdf, 2Mb).

During the pilot, we learned that:

  1. Collaboration is fundamental to achieving the maximum impact. By working with farmers, suppliers, labor contractors, local and national government, and NGOs, we were able to achieve the best results.
  2. Data is key. Gathering robust data on worker demographics, migrant workers’ movements and workplace conditions enabled us to develop a clear picture of the issue and design remediation.
  3. Understanding workers’ needs is crucial. Each workforce faces different issues, and it’s essential to communicate effectively with workers to understand the issues they face and develop systems that protect them.
  4. Flexibility makes a big difference. Risk needs to be assessed continually, considering the shifting needs of the local environment and the possibility to improve process.

Piloting of these guidelines has demonstrated how effective they are. They’re practical, and one of their greatest strengths is that they can be used by everybody from small, agricultural firms to large multi-national companies.

What this means for the broader supply chain

Along with other collaborations with NGOs, local authorities and suppliers in the hazelnut supply chain, this project has given us a deeper understanding of the root causes of child labor and labor rights issues. In particular, we now have detailed information on workers’ migration routes, literacy levels, gender split and basic needs, and labor standards.

The lessons we learned on the pilot project have helped us to redesign our approach to improving the livelihoods of seasonal migrant workers through co-funding agreements. In 2018, our projects trained 6 044 farmers, workers, traders and labor brokers on issues including health and safety, labor rights, responsible recruitment and the prevention of child labor. These training sessions happened both in the Black Sea area, where the farms are, and in southeastern Turkey, where most of the workers live.

As part of the training, we use our Responsible Sourcing Best Practices handbook (pdf, 2.3Mb) as well as a video about responsible employment practices. The handbook is distributed to all Tier 1 suppliers, traders, farmers, labor brokers and workers at the end – in 2018, we distributed 2 435 copies.

As a result of the training, we also used formal recruitment for the first time. In 2018, 366 workers, farmers and labor brokers made contracts before the hazelnut harvest. Additionally, 277 workers have benefited from improved shelter conditions, and 413 workers have benefited from improved WASH conditions. We also distributed 27 508 pieces of personal protective equipment – including first aid and sanitary kits, hats, gloves, masks, t-shirts and belt bags – to 4 531 farmers and workers.

With the FLA, we have now shifted our approach from audits, which told us little about the effect of interventions, to measuring the impact of our actions and activities around training, renovations and summer schools for children. The FLA report on this will be published in 2019.

Tackling child labor in the supply chain

Together with our local suppliers, Olam Progida and Balsu, and with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Labor, Nestlé has been using a grant from the US Department of Labor to pilot the USDA Guidelines for Eliminating Child Labor and Forced Labor in Turkey’s hazelnut orchards. The four-year project was completed in May 2018 and has provided valuable learning on how to tackle these issues, including the need for:

  • Colloboration for maximum impact.
  • Solid data on workers’ demographics and movement, and on workplace conditions.
  • Understanding workers’ needs and channels for workers to communicate concerns.
  • Flexibility in the development of processes and programs.

We continue our partnership between the International Labor Organization and the trade association CAOBISCO. During the 2018 harvest, together with our suppliers, NGO partners and local authorities, we’ve enabled safe spaces and activities for 2?452 children.

These efforts include the renovation of basic infrastructure, providing drinking water, adequate sanitation and hand-washing facilities; training farm workers on labor rights; delivering personal protective equipment; and offering summer school opportunities and other activities to children. This year alone, we have been able to benefit 2?452 children and 4?720 workers.

Olam Progida and Balsu have teams of agronomists and social workers active in the field all year round. They run awareness-raising activities on child labor, labor standards and good agricultural practices with farmers, local authorities and middlemen. Both of our suppliers also provide a toll-free phone number to the farmers and workers, enabling them to report any complaints. In 2018, 561 workers’ grievances were addressed by our suppliers’ social workers.


Keeping children engaged with summer schools and toy libraries


The children of seasonal agricultural workers often suffer academically, as they are often taken out of school to work on the land, especially during the busy harvest. Our summer schools are designed to help eliminate child labor from the hazelnut supply chain in Turkey, in line with the government’s National Employment Strategy (2014–2023).

Since 2012, we have worked with the International Labor Organization and the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security on the summer schools project. Initially launched in Ordu province, in the eastern Black Sea region, the project has since expanded west. Together with our suppliers Balsu and Olam, we financed three centers – two in Düzce province and one in Sakarya – and saw 248 children attend school instead of working in the hazelnut gardens during the 2018 harvest.

As well as giving the children much-needed education, our summer schools raise awareness about child labor among teachers and local villagers.

We have also established three toy libraries in the western Black Sea region, in co-operation with the Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (KEDV). KEDV works to increase access to education services and play activities for low-income families.

It operates like a regular library: children from the host community, including those from migrant workers’ families, visit the toy library with their parents. They spend time playing with the toys, and borrow some for a certain period. There is also a toy ‘hospital’, where broken toys are repaired.

About 300 children from migrant and local communities currently use the toy libraries, playing together and making friends, while their parents learn about the important role toys play in their children’s development.

Assessing suppliers

Helping suppliers improve conditions in the hazelnut supply chain

We do not buy directly from the hazelnut growers, but from two major suppliers, Balsu and Olam Progida. We work closely with both to implement activities aimed at improving conditions and achieving responsible sourcing in the supply chain. The FLA carries out audits and social impact assessments at farm level within our supply chain, and in partnership with the FLA and our two major suppliers we identify and implement measures to address the challenges found.

Supporting hazelnut farmers and workers with our suppliers

We work with our suppliers to address collectively the challenges faced by workers within our hazelnut supply chain.

Seasonal worker training

After arriving for the harvest, migrant workers attend an evening training session. This covers basic rights such as shelter, nutrition, sanitation and health; the rights of children; working conditions and labor rights; grievance and support procedures; and emergency phone numbers. They also receive first aid kits and personal protective equipment.

The right to report violations and concerns without retaliation is being highlighted at all farms. Balsu has established a toll-free, 24-hour grievance hotline for workers, available in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic and English, and also promotes the FLA’s mobile grievance app. A local employment agency visits the workers during the harvest to promote the benefits of registering for social security.

Protecting labor rights

Olam-Progida organized contractual agreements in 2018 between 52 farmers, 14 labor contractors and 594 workers; 49 of these contracts were approved by the Turkish Employment Agency in Düzce and Sakarya. The agreements represent a transformational change in the labor rights and working conditions of migrant workers in Turkey.

Our suppliers also map local labor contractors, checking how many workers they have and that they have provided personal protective equipment. During the winter, the contractors are trained on labor rights and legislation, child labor, wages, and occupational health and safety (OHS), and encouraged to register for a labor contractor certificate issued by the government.

We also provide training to employees. Through home-based sessions in the Black Sea provinces of Mardin, Düzce and Sakarya, eight ‘role model’ female workers, 105 family members and about 300 workers were given information about labor rights, wage inequality and discrimination against seasonal agricultural workers.

Worker living and conditions

During 2018, the workers’ shelters in five villages were visited and renovated where necessary. These refurbishments focused on the provision of washing machines, hot water and electricity. The assessment also led to the installation of several village fountains and seven mobile toilets at seasonal worker camps.

Tackling child and forced labor

We are working with Olam and Balsu to eliminate child and forced labor, as well as supporting the educational needs of farm workers’ children. Working with the NGO Association of Ideas and Art Workshop (FISA), our suppliers also organized child labor awareness training for women farmers. The ‘Safe Space’ project gives more than 500 children a safe place to play and learn while other family members work in the hazelnut gardens.

Supporting female and young workers

Our programs with Balsu and Olam are also designed to build the confidence, status and incomes of female workers, improving their leadership skills, financial literacy and knowledge of labor rights. Throughout the year, training on a range of good agricultural and social practices is made available, but historically only male farmers have participated. To reach female farmers and their children, five training sessions just for them were conducted in April and May 2018. To make the women feel more comfortable, the sessions were held in the schools their children attend. In total, 147 women farmers and 175 children took part.

Programs also train female workers on hygiene and personal care, workplace health and workers’ rights, and support local authorities in delivering self-development training to promote female education and personal development. Workshops for young laborers cover topics such as OHS, child labor and access to education. We reached 42 adult female workers and 44 young workers during 2018.

One specific initiative, ‘Strong Women, Strong Agriculture’, starts in the homes of female family members of male hazelnut farmers, to build trust and confidence. Then they attend a one-day training session, run with partner organizations. The training, which reached 30 women in 2018, spans technological and financial literacy, labor rights, the rights of children, good agricultural and social practices, OHS, communication skills, leadership and entrepreneurship.

Our detailed assessment of four hazelnut suppliers in Europe

In partnership with fair labor NGO Verité, we assessed the responsible sourcing standards of four hazelnut suppliers in Europe – two in Naples, Italy, and two in Tarragona, Spain. Our aim was to review the management systems and assess the ability of our supply chain to meet the sustainability requirements of the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Standard.

Tarragona is home to 90% of all the hazelnut production in Spain. We found that in the region, a typical hazelnut grower is over 60 years old, cultivates small plots of land, hires no workers, and does most of the work themself or with the help of family members. Usually, they work part-time on their farms, as ‘weekend growers’. They prefer biological pest control to chemicals. Occasionally, they’ll hire one or two workers.

Looking at issues including labor violations, discrimination, child labor, forced labor, long working hours, payment and health and safety, we found there were no problems in the supply chain. The two co-operatives we assessed showed no evidence of noncompliance with the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Standard and were not categorized as a risk.

In Italy, however, we did find risk of noncompliance. Several issues were identified, including workers who had only verbal contracts. There was also concern over health and safety practices, despite the supplier assessing farms on those issues. In addition, agricultural waste burning is common, despite a local regulation prohibiting the practice.

As a consequence of this assessment, we provided a series of detailed recommendations to help growers and suppliers reach compliance. As they range in complexity and length of time required for implementation, we know that these recommendations can’t all be implemented immediately – so we are collaborating with our suppliers to mitigate key risks, and to develop programs that will have a longer-term impact.

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