Does Nestlé have forced labor in its seafood supply chain?

What challenges do you and other companies face when sourcing seafood ingredients in Thailand for food and/or petcare products?

Unfortunately, no company sourcing seafood ingredients from Thailand can guarantee that it has completely removed forced labor practices or human rights abuses from its supply chain, due to the endemic nature of the issues involved. We have launched our Action Plan (pdf, 650Kb) to tackle these unacceptable practices, and continue to work with third-party partners to build a full picture of the supply chain and identify where abuses may be taking place.

What are the key measures in your Seafood Action Plan?

Key measures in our plan, to be implemented with our suppliers, include: coordinating the establishment of a response team to help protect Thai fishing laborers at risk, launching a grievance mechanism to allow workers to anonymously report abuses, putting in place a verification program for fishing vessels that assesses working and living conditions, starting a training program for boat owners and captains on minimum standards and improving traceability to enable greater oversight of where our supplies are coming from.

In addition, Nestlé is participating in a multi-stakeholder International Labour Organisation (ILO) Working Group, comprising representatives from the Government of Thailand, local seafood suppliers, and international buyers. This group has developed training guidelines for factories, primary processors and fish farms to help end unfair practices, and tools to support the inspection of fishing vessels to identify where forced and child labor is taking place.

What progress have you made to tackle forced labor?

In March 2016, we reported that 99% of the seafood ingredients sourced in Thailand for Nestlé Purina brands is traceable to a fishing vessel or farm. This improved level of traceability is thanks to the stricter enforcement of regulations by the Thai government and good cooperation from our suppliers. Read more about our progress (pdf, 220 Kb) with the Action Plan.

When did you implement the Action Plan?

We began implementing our Action Plan in 2015, along with our suppliers and other organizations in Thailand. Rollout will continue through to 2016, and we will publically report on progress in our Nestlé in Society annual report.

Nestlé fully supports the UN Global Compact and UN Guiding Principles and Human Rights. Our mandatory Nestlé Supplier Code and our Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG) on Fish and Seafood (pdf, 2Mb) require all our suppliers to respect human rights and to comply with all applicable labor laws.

Will you end commercial relationships with suppliers if they fail to take sufficient action?

Our approach with suppliers is to work with them to address issues in ingredient sourcing. For seafood in Thailand, Nestlé and its suppliers are committed to take action on the issues highlighted by the Verité report. Through our Action Plan and Nestlé Supplier Code we will ensure that minimum standards are adhered to and publically report on progress. This includes adding new business requirements into our relationships with suppliers in Thailand.