9 April 2011
Nestlé believes its actions must be good for business, and good for society. However, JustAct an initiative of the Justice and International Mission of the Uniting Church in Australia, along with many others hold strong concerns about the corporate conduct of Nestlé in the Philippines; Nestlé marketing of infant formula in the developing world and the slowness of Nestlé to adequately take steps to ensure the cocoa they source from West Africa is free from the use of slave labour.
Visit the above website to read more about these concerns and to learn how to take action.
With the approach of Easter, a traditional time for consuming chocolate, it is worth recalling the role that child labour plays in the production of chocolate.
Thousands of children have been trafficked onto cocoa plantations in the West African country of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The 2000 US State Department Human Rights report stated, "It is estimated that some 15,000 Malian children work on Ivorian cocoa and coffee plantations. Many are under 12 years-of-age, sold into indentured servitude for US$140, and work 12-hour days for US$135 to US$189 per year".
On the positive side Nestle has introduced a four-finger Kit-Kat in the UK market that uses Fairtrade certified cocoa and have recently started using UTZ certified cocoa in their four-finger Kit-Kat in Australia. Fairtrade and UTZ are credible systems ensuring cocoa is produced under standards that prohibit child labour through their certification and labelling system.
These changes are a great step towards ensuring the cocoa in the chocolate we eat has not been produced by children or people who have been trafficked. JustAct would like to see Nestle expand independent certification across all their chocolate products.
An update of progress to encourage other leading brands of chocolate makers to ensure that the cocoa they are using has not been produced by a child or someone who has been trafficked and exploited can be found at the Stop The TraffiK website.