This report tells the story of Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company, and its two hazelnut suppliers in Turkey, Olam and Balsu, as they pilot-tested the United States Department of Agriculture Guidelines for Eliminating Child Labor and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains (USDA Guidelines) in Turkey’s hazelnut supply chain. This project was a partnership between the three companies and the Fair Labor Association (FLA), funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL).
In this documentary, farm workers, labor contractors, farmers, manufacturers, government officials, and migrant children offer their perspectives on the FLA's pilot project implementing USDA guidelines for improving agricultural supply chains and on the situation for migrant hazelnut harvesters in Turkey.
“Responsible sourcing is a cornerstone of our approach to the sustainable development of our business. It is also an essential part of our relationship with the farmers and producers we depend on for our supply of raw materials,” says Hanna Jager, Global Responsible Sourcing Leader for Nestlé.
"Hazelnuts are the most important product, especially in the Black Sea region. When harvesting them [it's vital] that we consider how we can do it in better conditions. We shouldn't pick this product at the expense of other people's quality of life," says Nurcan Önder, Director General of Labor for the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in Turkey.
Migrant farmworkers discuss their work to harvest hazelnuts, returning year after year, some since childhood, along with their families. In partnership with the US Department of Labor and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in Turkey, the Fair Labor Association, Nestlé, Balsu, and Olam have been working to create safe spaces for children in the hazelnut harvest and improve conditions for workers.
Collaboration between multiple stakeholders was a key part of the success of the pilot program for addressing the systemic labor problems within the Turkish hazelnut supply chain. Balsu and Olam, two of Nestlé's main suppliers and FLA affiliated companies, worked with local farmers, laborers, Turkish ministry officials, and CSOs to learn about the issue of child labor, educate migrant families about their rights, and build ethical recruitment practices.
Hazelnut production in Turkey takes place mostly in family-owned small- scale orchards, where traditional labor-intensive techniques remain in place and labor relations are informal. Especially during the harvest, laborers work long hours without social security benefits under severe conditions like extreme heat, on steep and slippery terrain, usually seven days a week.
Within the framework of the FLA's hazelnut project in Turkey, researchers profiled communities encompassed by the project to generate a basic understanding of the communities, to assess each community’s needs and resources, and to inform the project’s 2017 remediation plan.