In 2002 Bayer CropScience acquired the Indian company Proagro and inadvertently inherited suppliers that have children handling seeds on its farms.
Although forbidden, child labor is a reality on several poor rural communities in India. Legislation requires that children go to school but in many families, children work for subsistence.
To solve this complicated situation Bayer took a few successful steps:
- Paid a price 5% to 7,5% higher for suppliers that did not have children working on their farms
- Gave a productivity training to farmers
- Made clear in its contracts with farmers that children labor was forbidden and gradually punished farmers that did not comply
- Developed partnerships with local NGOs to create Study Centers on local villages, so children could prepare themselves for formal school instead of work
- Created street theaters with NGOs, communities, families and children showing that labor should be replaced by education for all children
- Invited NGOs to verify and confirm the falling rates of children working at its suppliers’ fields
- Communicated all these initiatives on its Sustainability Report
As a result in 2006, 650 children had become students of the Study Center and stopped working on fields.
See more at the "Stakeholder Engagement and the Board" report:http://www.ifc.org/