Baseline Assessment: Mapping Working Conditions and Labor Risks in Voicevale’s Brazil Nut Supply Chain in Bolivia

FLA conducted a preliminary baseline assessment of Voicevale in Bolivia to understand the Brazil nut supply chain’s structure, stakeholders, workforce profile, and general working conditions, as well as country and regional contexts. This assessment also sought to identify suitable methods for external verification of working conditions, revealing the uniqueness and complexity of the Brazil nut supply chain, which must be reflected in Voicevale’s internal monitoring protocols. Additionally, the assessment verifies the status of Voicevale’s social and labor program against FLA’s Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing for Companies with Agricultural Supply Chains.

In late July 2023, FLA completed a field visit to Voicevale’s Bolivian Brazil nut supply chain, studying the major producing regions. The field assessment was conducted in Beni department (Riberalta municipality) and Pando department (Cobija and El Sena municipalities) in the northern Amazon region of Bolivia. Additionally, FLA’s team met with stakeholders in the southern Amazon city of Santa Cruz, where some processing factories are headquartered.

FLA interviewed Voicevale’s Sustainability Manager and Voicevale Bolivia Managing Director to discuss the Company’s internal monitoring system (IMS), the supply chain structure, and stakeholders. Focus group discussions (FGDs) with members of two Indigenous community associations were also conducted. Association members included union leaders and Brazil nut harvesters.

This assessment did not include a verification of compliance against FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and Benchmarks. However, FLA identified the following harvester concerns through a general assessment of Brazil nut harvesters’ working conditions:

  • Benefits and social security coverage/protections offered by the national labor legal framework are not available through informal employment;
  • Harvesters not earning the legal minimum wage, resulting in insufficient annual income to cover their household’s basic needs;
  • Health and safety risks while commuting to and working in the forest;
  • Forced and child labor risks; and
  • Reduction of Brazil nuts collection areas due to deforestation of the Amazon Forest, impacting the main source of income in the northern region of Bolivia.