Nespresso has issued a statement responding to allegations to be made in a TV programme in the UK this week.
On 2 March 2020, the UK documentary series, Dispatches, on Channel 4, is due to air a programme focused on child labour. Nespresso and George Clooney will be featured or referred to in this programme.
“Dispatches has informed Nespresso and George Clooney that they have reports and footage of children working on a small number of Rainforest Alliance certified farms in Guatemala, which they have informed us supply Nespresso,” said the company.
“Dispatches has not provided the information we require to identify the incriminated farms and confirm whether they supply Nespresso. Nonetheless, we have launched our own investigation on the ground.
“Nespresso has zero tolerance of child labour. It is unacceptable. Where there are claims that our high standards are not met, we act immediately. In this case, we were informed by a UK media outlet that they had identified instances of child labour on six farms in a region of Guatemala.
“The media outlet refused to provide us with the details of the farms so that we could confirm whether they supplied Nespresso and to immediately address these allegations. However, we have launched a thorough investigation and taken a number of actions.”
Nespresso went on to say, “First and foremost, we have immediately stopped purchases of coffee from all farms in the region and we will not resume purchases until we are able to investigate and be assured that child labour is not being used.
“Through the investigation, any issues we uncover will be dealt with diligently and firm action will be taken. We will also double the number of agronomists that we have on the ground in the region and we will implement unannounced visits to check on compliance on social and labour issues.
“All of these actions are on top of our ongoing direct work with farmers and partners in the region and around the world,” said Nespresso.
“We work with Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade International to reinforce good working practices and fair treatment of workers, including education on the risks of child labour. In fact, all of the farms in the cooperatives in this region of Guatemala are Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade certified.
“We invest heavily in this effort; in 2019, our 400 agronomists made over 170,000 farm visits and trainings across the world, including 60,000 detailed on farm sustainability assessments. This was backed up by more than 3,300 third party verification farm audits. We will continue to do all we can to stamp child labour out. It has no place in our supply chain.
“We are extremely concerned by the allegations made and take them very seriously. We are making significant efforts to address child labour and protect the children in the coffee farming communities we work with, and we will continue to do so.”
“While we inspect and audit our whole supply chain to protect against child labour through our agronomists, we also work with Rainforest Alliance on the ground in areas where child labour is a social and economic issue to educate and support suppliers in mitigating against the causes.
“In all visits and audits done last year around the world, two cases of child labour were reported. Ten have been reported over the last four years (none of them in Guatemala), and each one has been effectively resolved. Our own records of recent farm visits and audits in this region of Guatemala haven’t raised any issues.”