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The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that as many as 25 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour*. But because the practice is largely hidden, accurately measuring the true scale of the problem is difficult. Other studies estimate set the number to be even higher.

Forced labour and human trafficking are more common is some sectors of the world economy than others and sadly agriculture and the food industry is one of those sectors.

Taking responsibility

As the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturer, we take human rights very seriously. In fact, our responsibility is enshrined in our corporate purpose. It underpins the way we do business.

We oppose all forms of labour and human rights violations, including forced and child labour. And we work tirelessly to promote human rights within our supply chains. By doing so, we believe that we can make a difference to the six groups of people we see as being particularly at risk:

  1. Our own employees
  2. On-site contractors
  3. Suppliers and their employees
  4. Farmers and farm workers
  5. Local communities
  6. Consumers

*Source: Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage, Geneva, September 2017.

UN sustainable goals

Many of our policies, practices and standards were designed to further the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These are 17 inter-connected goals (comprising 169 individual targets) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, forward looking to be reached by 2030. Together, they comprise a ‘blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’.

What are we doing to protect human rights?

We have identified 11 human rights issues that we consider most pressing, based on: the likelihood of them occurring in our supply chain; the severity of their impact on people and communities; and the practicability of our addressing them.

  1. Freedom of association and collective bargaining
  2. Working time
  3. Workers’ accommodation and access to basic services
  4. Safety and health
  5. Living wage
  6. Child labour
  7. Forced labour
  8. Land acquisition
  9. Access to water and sanitation
  10. Access to grievance mechanisms
  11. Data protection and privacy

This graphic shows the links between our 11 human rights issues and the colour-coded UN SDGs below.



Our Human Rights Due Diligence programme

We created the Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) programme to review our impact on human rights and enable us to focus activities to have the biggest positive impact.

The HRDD programme has eight components:

  1. Integrating human rights into new and existing policies 
  2. Stakeholder engagement on human rights issues
  3. Training and awareness
  4. Risk and impact assessments
  5. Assessing human rights impacts in high-risk operations
  6. Coordinating activities through the Nestlé Human Rights Working Group
  7. Partnering with human rights organisations to implement activities
  8. Monitoring and reporting on performance

Because the programme is built on stakeholder engagement we regularly work with rights-holders, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and others to continue to develop our knowledge of the issues.