George Clooney speaks out on the investigation involving Nespresso farms and child labour.
The coffee brand has been accused of using child labour at its farms after a British program called “Dispatches” — known for investigating these types of issues — filmed children working eight-hour days for very little pay up to six days per week. After being given access to the farms in Guatemala, “Dispatches” reporter Anthony Barnett saw the youths working. However, Nespresso has claimed that it receives all its beans ethically.
As brand ambassador for the company, actor George Clooney says he is “surprised and saddened” by the allegations.
“Having grown up working on a tobacco farm from the time I was 12, I’m uniquely aware of the complex issues regarding farming and child labour,” he said in a statement to Deadline. “That’s why I joined the Sustainability advisory board of Nespresso seven years ago along with the Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade International, and the Fair Labour Association among many others with the goal then, as it remains to this day to improve the lives of farmers.”
Clooney continued: “Clearly this board and this company still have work to do. And that work will be done. I would hope that this reporter will continue to investigate these conditions and report accurately if they do not improve.”
CEO of Nespresso Guillaume Le Cunff also released a statement following Barnett’s report:
“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 labor 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. 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 labor 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 labor issues.”