Nestlē… Another Volkswagen’s replica on the way?
Despite being a leader in several sustainability indices and a committed signatory to the UN Global Compact since 2001, Nestlē has been criticized since the 1970s for its greediness. The country seems to have ignored the strong policies it has committed itself and has been subject to numerous boycotts due to controversies such as its “killer” baby formula, bottling California water during droughts, destroying rain forests and for the last couple of years, child labor within its supply chain.
The company, along with, Mars, The Hershey Co., Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill has been accused of purchasing cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire in full knowledge of that it used child slaves to harvest cocoa. A filed appeal to have the case dismissed was rejected by the US Supreme Court.
In defense of the multinational, the Fair Labor Association, an independent entity devoted to protecting workers’ rights globally, conducted 13 surprise monitoring visits to four cooperatives in the Ivory Coast supplying to Nestlē reporting evidence of forced and child labour and while there were improvements according to their report, Nestlē still has a long way to go.
It’s unclear whether child labour case could lead to the company’s downfall in terms of its stellar corporate responsibility standards reputation but it will certainly put a dent.