Nestle respond to badger

I also emailed Nestle urging them to use Fairtrade across their products and not to use sources involving child labour. This is the blurb Tearfund used to urge us to email,

“Nestlé is on a mission to ‘improve their products to ensure they can be enjoyed as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle’. They’re re-launching Kit Kat – their best selling biscuit – now free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Despite this, the recipe is still tainted by an ingredient much nastier than an E number – child slave labour.

Thousands of children are trafficked within West Africa and forced to work on cocoa farms against their will, for long hours and in dangerous conditions. Nestlé is aware of the problem and said they would guarantee the end of trafficked labour in the cocoa industry by 2005. This hasn’t happened.

Being a powerful company, Nestlé could very well determine the conditions beans are bought in. Please badger Nestlé to make the Kit Kat recipe child-friendly, remove all traces of trafficking and go Fairtrade.”

This is their response,

“Thank you very much for your email.

At Nestlé, as stated in our publicly-available business principles, practices and supplier agreements, we are against all forms of exploitation of children and any form of forced or compulsory labour.

As a signatory to the Global Harkin Engel Protocol, Nestlé is committed to working with cocoa communities, Governments, NGOs and others to end child slavery, trafficking or other unacceptable labour practices on cocoa farms. We source the majority of our cocoa from the Ivory Coast and have been working to improve the lives of cocoa farmers there for many years by encouraging better farming practices, providing agricultural assistance, and working to improve labour practices and traceability in the supply chain.

We are also a founding participant in the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), an independent foundation set up in 2002 that is dedicated to ending child and forced labour in cocoa growing, and eliminating child trafficking and abusive labour practices. The ICI, a unique partnership between civil society and the cocoa industry, works to ensure that children are not exposed to unsafe tasks, helps children that are exploited and improves their access to education.

Nestlé works with a number of certification organisations, including Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, on several coffee brands and projects. For cocoa we are currently funding a pilot scheme with UTZ working with three co operatives in the Ivory Coast and are committed to buying UTZ CERTIFIED beans from these co operatives in 2010.

Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact us. We are grateful for the interest you have shown in our company.”

So they’re signed up to the right things then….

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