Driven by an urgent need to address child rights issues in Turkey’s seasonal agricultural work, The Centre, Save the Children, Lidl and their direct supplier Olam, set up an ambitious pilot project in 2020 to enforce children's rights in the hazelnut harvest sector, which is currently on-going. The project in Turkey is promoted as a particularly innovative project within the framework of the “We stop child labour” campaign by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and is supported by GIZ.
The programme not only focuses on child labour prevention in the hazelnut supply chain, but strives to offer children the opportunity to study or to attend school or have access to age-appropriate and safe work. It also aims to develop an effective model that can be rolled out in supply chains of other agricultural commodities in the long run, drawing on the experience and lessons learnt of this pilot.
Lidl leads by good example
Acting responsibly is the basis for long-term success: Lidl operates according to this principle on a national and international level. This is also clearly shown by the pilot project in Turkey, because for the first time the entire supply chain - from growing the hazelnuts to harvesting and processing - is being checked for compliance with children's rights. In the event of non-compliance, appropriate countermeasures are initiated, specifically the enforcement of children's rights “beyond compliance”.
Through this approach, Lidl is creating an example of how corporate due diligence through analysis, prevention and remedial action of child labour and other child rights violations, can look in practice. This responsible approach to child labour is part of a process to establish long-term children's rights in hazelnut production in Turkey and to eliminate child labour. As a pioneer, Lidl is complying with the demands of the German federal government’s not-yet-passed Supply Chain Act (Lieferkettengesetz) and the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP) from 2016, which call for the exercise of corporate due diligence to protect human rights in supply chains.
About the project
The Centre, Save the Children and Lidl agreed that a blanket ban on child labour within the hazelnut supply chain does not solve any problems. Education and transparency are key, because change can only have a lasting effect if all actors understand the problem and can understand the solutions. This means that all actors along the supply chain are involved in this innovative project in order to change business practices to protect children and their rights. The focus is not on sanctioning misconduct, but on actively solving the problem in the interests of those affected. Due to a rights-based approach, the focus is on protecting those affected. Even after the end of the project, the actors should be able to implement the measures developed on the basis of the knowledge gained in the long term and, in particular, to protect children's rights. This ensures the sustainability of the project.
Children have a right to learning and age-appropriate, safe work: three pillars to success
1. Strengthening children's rights in the supply chain
Identification of child rights risks and development of a child rights policy for agricultural products
Definition of specific guidelines for the implementation of the child rights policy at all supply chain levels
Involvement of the direct supplier and all upstream supply chain stages for the purpose of structural prevention and remediation of child labour through training
2. Long term offers for children during the harvest season
Care and early childhood support for small children up to the age of five
Educational opportunities for five-to-17-year-olds
Access to age-appropriate and safe work as well as mentoring for 15-to-17-year-olds
3. Consciousness change and structural factors
Training and sensitisation of parents and guardians on children's rights, equality and the negative consequences of child labour
Education about children's rights in communities and authorities
Identification of structural risk drivers such as pricing, wage structures, cost of living, work processes
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