Seed sector has another tilt at child labourJuly 2009
A global coalition of seed manufacturers has outlined a new strategy for preventing child labour in their sector.
CropLife International, a plant science association, in collaboration with its seed industry members – BASF, Bayer, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta – says in a new position paper that seed companies should introduce a ‘no child labour clause’ in their contracts with suppliers.
It adds that companies should also consider sanctions against suppliers breaking contractual child labour requirements.
The paper recommends that members report against a series of new key performance indicators, including the number of proven cases of child labour as a percentage of the total workforce and of farms monitored.
The seed companies state their determination to ‘contribute to capacity-building and improving the educational situation of children in deprived rural communities’ so that children in developing countries are able to go to school rather than be tempted into the workplace at a young age.
Child labour has beset the seed industry for a decade, and the formation of the latest association under the aegis of CropLife follows the failure of an alliance of companies and NGOs, the Child Labour Eradication Group, to make much headway on tackling child labour in India’s cotton seed industry (EP6, issue 6, p8). The new paper concludes by stating unequivocally that ‘CropLife member companies do not tolerate child labour and do not employ children within their organizations’.
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