Nestlé’s ethical and legal reputation hangs in the balance after the company has been slammed with yet another lawsuit alleging the use of forced labor. This past November, following an independent study, Nestlé admitted that fishermen from Mongolia and Cambodia who had been mainly working in Thailand were subject to mistreatment and slave-like labor practices.Now, Nestlé, along with two other confectionary companies, Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill, is being sued for similar slave labor allegations on cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast.
The Supreme Court dismissed repeated requests to throw out the lawsuit, which, according to Russia Today, was originally filed in 2005 by three individuals who claimed they had been trafficked in 2005 and forced to work on a cocoa plantation in Mali. The international Fair Labor Association found evidence of forced child labor on farms in the Ivory Coast that were utilized by the three companies named in the lawsuit.
Nestlé addresses these issues on its website briefly, saying, “we are training the farmers to improve the productivity of their orchards and the quality of their cocoa, improve health and safety on their farms, and help them understand our stance on labor conditions – including child labor. Following this, we ensure they are certified by UTZ or Fairtrade.”