Letter to Ferrero

 1170 Brussels




Dear director,


On Tuesday the 10th of October the Dutch TV program EénVandaag (OneToday) convincingly showed that many children and underpaid adults harvesting hazelnuts in the northern part of Turkey.  These hazelnuts are imported in The Netherlands and other European countries and are processed in a number of consumer products like chocolate, cookies, ice-cream and hazelnut paste for the European market.

In the program the first undersigned, on behalf of the campaign ‘Stop Child Labour’, already stated that we expect that all companies that are processing hazelnuts will do everything in their capacity to make sure that the affected children will be going to school full-time during the whole year while their parents should be paid fair wages and enjoy decent working conditions.


In Turkey hundreds of thousands of poor families travel across the country every year looking for work. Large groups of migrant labourers are involved in harvesting hazelnuts in the coastal areas of Northern Turkey. Research from the Turkish teachers union Egitim Sen, member of Education International, indicates that many children are missing three to month of education every year because of the seasonal work they are performing alongside their parents. These children make 1012 hour working days. Turkey has a compulsory education for eight years of schooling, but children harvesting hazelnuts are missing a big part of their right to education. The children and their parents are living in poverty, at home as well as during the harvesting season. During this season they live in tents, generally with sanitation and running water.


Your company is processing hazelnuts that are sold on the Dutch and European market.

We are there requesting you to inform us if you process hazelnuts from Turkey and if you, in the context of your policy  on Corporate Social Responsibility, have already taken concrete measures to eradicate child labour and secure decent wages and working conditions for adult migrant labourers harvesting hazelnuts in your supply chain.


Possibly this issue is new to your company and possibly you are also shocked like us about child labour and the sub-standard working conditions in hazelnut harvesting in Turkey. The campaign Stop Child Labour asks you to do your utmost to tackle these issue together with your suppliers as well as, where-ever possible, in co-operation with civil society organizations and the government.

With regard to the Turkish government it is important to stress that the government has ratified both ILO Conventions against child labour and that actively combating child labour is also part of the Ninth Development Plan (2007-2013) of the Turkish government.


We also would like to invite you for the first screening on the 19th of November in De Balie in Amsterdam of the documentary ‘Children of the Season’ about seasonal and child labour in Turkey  with a focus on the harvesting of hazelnuts. You are invited as well to discuss this issue and your response to it with the filmmakers and the audience.


We are awaiting your response to this letter with great interest and kindly request you to send your reply within the coming two weeks. As Stop Child labour campaign we are of course most willing to share thoughts with you on actively tackling the problems of child and underpaid adult labour in Turkish’s hazelnut production.


With kind regards,


Manuela Montero (director Hivos)


Henk van de Kolk (chairperson FNV Bondgenoten)


On behalf of ‘Stop Child labour – School is the best place to work’


Dutch participants in this campaign:


General Education Union

FNV Mondiaal


ICCO and Church in Action

IndiaCommittee of the Netherlands (ICN)

Stichting Kinderpostzegels