Forced labour in the Thai seafood industry
Forced labour has no place in any part of our business. Working alongside other stakeholder partners, we are committed to identifying and eliminating this human rights abuse throughout our supply chain. Our mandatory Nestlé Supplier Code and Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG) require all of our suppliers to respect human rights and to comply with all applicable labour laws.
In December 2014, following news reports of slave labour in the Thai seafood industry, we asked the NGO Verité to carry out an assessment of labour conditions in our shrimp supply chain in Thailand. The three-month investigation, which focused on six production sites and covered fishing vessels, ports and mills, revealed a range of human rights abuses including forced labour and human trafficking among migrant workers.
Based on the findings of the report, we developed an action plan to prevent unacceptable labour practices and protect workers. Key measures in our plan – which are now being implemented with our suppliers – include coordinating the establishment of a response team to help protect Thai fishing labourers at risk, launching a grievance mechanism to allow workers to anonymously report abuses, and putting in place a verification programme for fishing vessels that assesses working and living conditions. We will also start a training programme for boat owners and captains on minimum standards, and improve traceability to enable greater oversight of where our supplies are coming from. We will provide public updates on progress.
In addition, Nestlé is participating in a multi-stakeholder International Labour Organisation (ILO) Working Group, consisting of 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 labour is taking place.
We have made Verité’s key findings publicly available to help wider efforts to stop such abuses taking place.