ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) -Nestle said on Thursday it will start paying cocoa farmers cash if they send their children to school rather than out to tend crops as part of a push to purchase all of its cocoa through a fully traceable, directly sourced supply chain by 2025. Chocolate makers are coming under mounting pressure from investors, consumers and governments to make sure the cocoa beans they source are not produced using child labour or in illegal cocoa plantations in protected forests, both of which are common in West Africa. The food group behind KitKat chocolate bars and Smarties confectionery said it will triple its current annual spending on sustainable cocoa to give a total investment of 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.41 billion) by 2030.
The consumer goods company had already made three separate bids to acquire the business, but GSK said earlier this week that the latest offer was still “fundamentally undervalued”.
GSK said its board unanimously concluded the offer was not in the best interests of shareholders, and that it was instead pushing ahead with the planned demerger of the unit.