ADDRESSING CHILD LABOUR
Child labour is not acceptable. In accordance with the main international and legal instruments contained in the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), we define child labour as work that can harm children’s well-being and hinder their education, development and future livelihood.
Addressing child labour is a multi-stakeholder issue. We would like to see labour laws globally aligned to ILO conventions 138 (minimum age for admission to employment and work) and 182 (the worst forms of child labour).
Similar to other agricultural industries, the risk of child labour is highest in our tobacco growing supply chain. We address child labour through three main avenues;
(i) Leaf supplier programme known as ‘STP’; the ‘People’ pillar of STP is a critical element for the respect of human rights and is aligned with the relevant ILO conventions and the UN Guiding Principles.
(ii) Leaf Partnership Projects; working directly with our suppliers to fund projects in tobacco growing communities to help tackle child labour.
(iii) Our active support of the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT), which aims to tackle the root causes of child labour by improving access to education and providing alternatives to childhood working. It also has an advocacy role, raising awareness with governments and communities to galvanise positive action.
As an ECLT Board member we have signed a Pledge of Commitment and Minimum Requirements, which affirms “ECLT Board Members respect and recognize the principles and rights enshrined in the ILO Conventions and recommendations on child labour. The pledge further affirms a sector wide commitment to uphold the robust policies on child labour".
We are actively engaging with the NGO, Human Rights Watch, on the issue of child labour in agricultural supply chains. We believe in dialogue and transparency in dealing with this very important issue.
In addition to our STP, which covers all of our leaf suppliers, we operate a Supplier Qualification Programme for our key non-tobacco materials (NTM) and Next Generation Products (NGP) suppliers. Suppliers are asked to complete a periodic compliance check. This includes questions on business conduct, environmental management and labour practices. We also encourage our suppliers to evaluate their suppliers and sub-contractors. The programme involves a phased cycle of audits to check against the supplier’s self-assessment. We prioritise audits on the basis of risk assessment, quality and performance.
Further detail on how we address the issue of child labour in our agricultural supply chain is detailed in our Addressing Child Labour overview document.