Most spices are produced by small-scale farmers in developing countries. Their production provides many people with income, but also poses all sorts of social and ecological challenges. The Dutch spice sector recognizes that many companies are doing things like actively participating in the Sustainable Spices Initiative. In addition, the Dutch Spice Trade Association is intending to sign an agreement with the government and civil society organizations in the area of International Corporate Social Responsibility (ICSR). One ICSR issue in spice supply chains is child labour.
Three spice companies – Verstegen Spices & Sauces, Epos Spices and P Visser & Son – have therefore taken the initiative to determine where there is a risk for child labour in their supply chains and to analyze what Dutch companies could possibly do about it. The companies are also trying to arrange their internal processes to meet the due diligence requirements of the upcoming ICSR agreement. CREM has been hired to guide this initiative. In this project, the spice supply chains of the three companies were screened for risks of child labour through a quick scan. Based on this, three product-market combinations with high risks were selected as pilots. These were turmeric from India, cardamom from Guatemala and cumin from Turkey. Local researchers in these pilots will first study whether there is actually child labour being used, and if there is, then analyze the background causes and make recommendations on how the Dutch companies can structurally improve the situation. The lessons from the whole project will be included in a child labour due diligence tool kit that will be then distributed to members of the NVS and others.
For more information: Victor de Lange