Renowned food and beverage manufacture Nestlé is in the midst of a child labor and human rights violations lawsuit. Initially filed in 2005, three former Mali workers claim that they were overworked, underpaid and severely beaten during their time as cocoa harvesters for the company.
The Supreme Court has recently announced that it will uphold the lawsuit. While rumors of the alleged treatment of workers have been circulating for years, Nestlé has finally taken responsibility for their haphazard working conditions. The company recently released a statement outing other food manufactures in addition to acknowledging that they plan to do better.
According to The Guardian, Nestle claims that it’s virtually impossible for any company that’s outsourced shrimp from Thailand or cocoa from the Ivory Coast to not have used slave labor.
“As we’ve said consistently, forced labour and human rights abuses have no place in our supply chain,” said Magdi Batato, Nestlé’s executive vice-president in charge of operations. “Nestlé believes that by working with suppliers we can make a positive difference to the sourcing of ingredients.”
Some may question how Nestle (and countless other companies) could have set up shop in other countries, with such deplorable conditions without any regulations from the government. There is legislation in place including the 2010 California Transparency in Supply Chains Act which requires company’s to be forthcoming about their manufacturing process.
While implementation of this law has been inconsistent at best, news about Nestlé’s Supreme Court case is evidence that the conglomerate isn’t above the law.