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Progressively realising commitments against child labour

An estimated 108 million are in child labour in agriculture (ILO 2017), doing work that is harmful to their education, safety, health or development. Government and private sector action is urgently needed to address this seemingly intractable abuse of children’s rights. The ECLT Foundation Members' Pledge of Commitment is a sector-wide agreement to address this. Through the Pledge, members are better positioned to address the complex child labour problem holistically and throughout their respective tobacco-sourcing supply chains.

In 2018, the Members of the ECLT Pledge of Commitment completed a second self-assessment on the progress made in their supply chains in the fight against child labour. Read the full report here.

Tackling child labour together

The ECLT Foundation Members’ Pledge of Commitment brings together a major portion of the multi-national corporations in the world’s tobacco-sourcing supply chain. Pledge members are responding to the fact that tobacco growing worldwide will not be free of child labour until the industry can work together effectively at all levels - manufacturers, suppliers, buyers and farmers.

Since the signing in December 2014, Pledge Members are working to align, reinforce and, where necessary, expand policies and practices, and take tangible actions to address child labour in tobacco-growing supply chains.

Members commit to uphold robust policy, conduct due diligence and provide for remediation against child labour, in line with international laws and based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) recognised to be best practices for businesses.

The Members recognise that the Pledge cannot fully address the complex root causes of child labour on its own. Making progress against systemic issues, such as poverty, lack of access to education, inadequate infrastructure and cultural acceptance of child labour, requires partnerships and sustained commitment. Collective industry effort is a major part of making progress, but the scale and complexity of the problem require stronger collaboration with stakeholders, like international organisations, governments, agricultural sectors, and communities themselves. In line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, Pledge Members are committed to engage with others for the progressive elimination of child labour in tobacco-growing areas.

Progressing transparently

Through the second member self-assessment report, we can examine how well member companies are implementing their child labour policies; whether they are responding effectively to identified child labour risks, and driving continuous improvement.

In interpreting these results, it is important to keep in mind that implementation of the Pledge is progressive and an ongoing process requiring flexibility, time and investments. Furthermore, the multinational environments that the member companies operate in imply that a one-size-fits-all approach is neither practical nor desirable.

Read the full report here.