Olam Cocoa Introduces The First Professionalised Child Labour Monitoring And Remediation To Cameroon

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Child labour monitoring and remediation are set to be rolled out across Cameroon in the first programme of its kind by a cocoa company. The move forms part of Olam Cocoa’s global commitment to put children first by tackling child labour and helping more children attend school across its entire direct supply chain.

The company is working in partnership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and local cocoa farming cooperatives to digitally register its nearly 7,000 farmer suppliers in Cameroon and their households, introduce rigorous traceability and reporting systems, educate local communities about child labour, and set up dedicated child labour monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) – the first time these measures have been introduced professionally and at scale in Cameroon.

To facilitate this process, Olam Cocoa is introducing a new app to its Olam and Farmers Information System (OFIS) technology. After providing training to community leads and equipping them with a smartphone, they can begin collecting social data. This means that it is possible to identify children who are at high risk and take action much more quickly. These data insights will then feed directly into Olam’s source, a digital platform that gives its customers unprecedented visibility of the supply chain of their products.

It is estimated that around 20% of school-aged children in Cameroon do not attend school1. The reasons for this are complex. The majority of smallholder cocoa farmers have small plots with low yields, which makes it difficult to earn a living income. When parents cannot afford to pay for labour to help on their farms, they may keep children at home to work the land rather than attend school.

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Beyond Cameroon, the app will be used to cover nearly 223,000 farmers in 3 countries across West Africa, prioritising those countries where the risk is highest. Last year the company launched Cocoa Compass, its sustainability ambition for the future of the cocoa sector, which aims to tackle child labour and help children access education, support cocoa farmers to achieve a living income, protect forests through an increase in tree carbon stock and lower its natural capital costs.

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Richa Mittal, Director, Supply Chain Innovation & Partnerships at the Fair Labor Association, said: Olam Cocoa proactively partnered with the FLA to map the working conditions in its smallholder cocoa supply chain in Cameroon in 2019. The FLA team alongside Olam Cocoa’s local team engaged government stakeholders, civil society organisations, local community leaders, farmers, workers, and their families to understand the root causes of child labour. The findings informed Olam Cocoa’s development of CLMRS in Cameroon. The FLA will continue to independently monitor and then publicly report on the company’s efforts to improve the conditions for the cocoa farmers and their families in the country.”

Billie Elmqvist Thurén, Regional Child Labour Analyst at Olam Cocoa, said: “Access to education and freedom from child labour are basic human rights. We’re focused on making this a reality for every child and parent we work directly within cocoa communities around the world. It’s a big task, especially in countries like Cameroon that are struggling with ongoing political uncertainty. But we need to act now to ensure we have full traceability of the cocoa in our direct supply chain, and most important of all, improve the lives of children and give them the opportunities their parents may not have had.”

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Olam Cocoa Introduces The First Professionalised Child Labour Monitoring And Remediation To Cameroon - Brand SpurOlam Cocoa Introduces The First Professionalised Child Labour Monitoring And Remediation To Cameroon - Brand Spur

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Olam Cocoa Introduces The First Professionalised Child Labour Monitoring And Remediation To Cameroon - Brand SpurOlam Cocoa Introduces The First Professionalised Child Labour Monitoring And Remediation To Cameroon - Brand Spur

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Singapore Employees Lack Retirement Support From Companies While Financial Wellbeing Becomes a Top Priority: Aon Survey

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 14 April 2021 - Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has released the findings of the 2021 Trends in Retirement & Financial Wellbeing survey for Singapore.


Working adults in Singapore ranked retirement planning as their top priority but an alarming 80% underestimate how much they really need to retire. While retirement support from employers is also lacking, further challenges remain around transparency in group retirement plans' investment offerings and employees foregoing long-term perspectives to seek short-term gains.

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Ashley Palmer, Regional Managing Partner, Retirement & Investments, Asia for Aon, said, ""Employers can have a significant impact on how much their employees save by instilling smart habits and healthy money behaviours. The right long-term savings vehicles, effective communications and financial tools will help Singapore's workforce be more financially resilient in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic."


The survey identifies three main themes in financial wellbeing and retirement support for Singapore employees.


Financial wellbeing support is the new employee expectation. As a result, close to 40% of employers rank an employee financial wellbeing strategy as their highest priority, followed by emotional and mental wellbeing support. The survey shows that 70% of Singapore employers will formulate or execute financial wellbeing programmes throughout 2021, in line with employee expectations. Companies also view offering a financial wellbeing programme critical in increasing employee engagement and remaining competitive in the talent market.


There is an increasing trend of employer-led supplementary savings plans. Currently, 22% of companies surveyed offer Central Provident Fund (CPF) top-up contributions to citizens and Permanent Residents. But, close to 40% of the working population in Singapore are foreigners who do not have access to CPF and are likely to have foregone their retirement benefits in their home countries. To bridge this gap, and to provide equitable retirement benefits to all employee groups, close to 50% of the organisations surveyed offer supplementary retirement benefits to their foreign staff. Financial services firms are leading in this practice, followed by the technology and the healthcare sectors.


Promisingly, a third of organisations in Singapore are prioritising a thorough review of their supplementary retirement arrangements in 2021.


Alicia Brittain, Senior Consultant & Actuary, Retirement & Investments, Singapore for Aon, said, "Forward-looking companies first need to understand the financial worries of their employees and identify the gaps in their benefits offering. The most effective approaches are aimed at changing individual behaviours towards money and savings and providing accessible programmes and vehicles to deliver sustainable change. For example, when organisations provide retirement benefits as cash-in-lieu, it is most likely immediately spent and so does not form part of an emergency fund or long-term savings for the employees' retirement years. Supplementary retirement plans solve this issue and are more flexible and cost effective - and can also offer contributions above the monthly CPF wage cap to increase employee savings."


Employees in Singapore lack a well-defined default investment strategy. Less than 30% of the surveyed companies in Singapore currently offer their employees an investment choice in their retirement plans, and only 15% of retirement plans have a default investment fund. This leads to employees selecting their own optimal investment funds. They may lack experience in understanding investments, which can lead to misallocating their money and result in inadequate retirement savings or excessive risk taking.


Brittain added, "The key to protecting employees and adding value to savings in any defined contribution retirement plan is a well-defined default investment strategy. This includes frequent performance monitoring, actively managing investment risks and dynamically reducing investment risk as employees move towards retirement."


Notes to Editors

The Aon 2021 Trends in Retirement & Financial Wellbeing for Singapore survey was designed to help organisations understand the unique retirement and financial needs of their Singapore workforce. This tri-annual survey was completed by organisations with employee populations ranging from five to over 4,000 and are based in Singapore. Responding Rewards and Benefits Leaders, HR and Finance Professionals provided feedback and insight on their organisations' financial wellbeing and retirement programmes, interests and concerns. Click here for the full report.

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Olam Cocoa Introduces The First Professionalised Child Labour Monitoring And Remediation To Cameroon - Brand Spur
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