Hazelnuts are popular all over the world. Most of them come from one single country: Turkey. However, production there can be associated with considerable social risks. Thousands of harvest workers, mostly migrant workers and their families, are exposed to a range of precarious working conditions. These include factors such as child labour, low wages and excessively long working hours. Moreover, supply chain transparency and traceability are another problem for Turkish hazelnuts, as they generally pass through various intermediaries and processors.
Hazelnuts are the third most critical raw material for HALBA in terms of quantity. Most of the nuts required come from Turkey, from where HALBA buys exclusively Rainforest Alliance certified hazelnuts. However, no certification system is able to completely guarantee that a product is free from child labour. HALBA focuses on transparency and traceability in order to address risks associated with Turkish hazelnut cultivation.
HALBA sources some hazelnuts from Italy and North Macedonia, where HALBA promotes the creation of alternative supply chains. The partnership with Nelkoski Organic is one example of this. Working in conjunction with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), HALBA supports supplier farmers in implementing Bio Suisse certification. Alongside Coop, HALBA is financing the expansion of the professional processing infrastructure of Nelkoski Organic in order to ensure that the quantity and quality of organic hazelnuts from North Macedonia can be increased in future, as an alternative to supplies from Turkey.