Saturday, December 05, 2009

Nestle KitKat to be Fairtrade - except for those where child slavery is involved

According to the Ekklesia news site, there will be an announcement on Monday 7 December that in the UK four-finger KitKats are to be Fairtrade certified. See "Campaigners give two finger salute to Nestlé":

Great news for the farmers in the scheme if properly independently audited, but raises questions about why Nestlé has not lived up to its promises to end child slavery in its cocoa supply chain more broadly.

As Ekklesia reports:

---Extract begins
Stop the Traffik say the good news is only partial, as this will only apply to their ‘four finger’ product.

‘Two finger’ Kit Kats and all of their other chocolate products “will continue to exploit the chocolate slaves of the Ivory Coast from where Nestlé source most of their cocoa” they said in a statement.
---extract ends

For details of Nestlé's failure to live up to its 2001 promise to end child slavery in its supply chain and a reminder of Nestlé's token Fairtrade coffee and how it has used that to try to divert criticism of its coffee trading and to undermine the boycott over its baby milk marketing, see my earlier blog:

Here's the quote from the page with my full analysis - see that for links to supporting documents and images:

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, said: "Nestlé is already using a Fairtrade mark on a token product representing just 0.02% of its coffee purchase to try to divert criticism of its trading practices, which have been blamed for driving down prices for millions of coffee farmers. While the coffee and cocoa farmers in Fairtrade schemes should benefit, if proper independent audits are done, that provides little comfort to the vast majority of suppliers outside the schemes. Legal action has been taken against Nestlé in the US over its failure to act on child slavery in its cocoa supply chain, despite public claims that it is doing so, and we have already seen it trying to divert this criticism by, for example, sponsoring an event on the abolition of slavery at the Labour Party Conference.

"When Nestlé is on the record as saying that charitable contributions should benefit its shareholders, we should not be too excited by one of the world's most boycotted companies pursuing something like this. We will continue to include Kit Kats on the list of boycott products and recommend that anyone who is concerned about promoting real change for people in developing countries support the boycott and buy their products from companies with positive business values, not just token initiatives. There are companies whose entire output is Fairtrade certified after all. Nestlé systematically violates baby food marketing standards, undermining breastfeeding and contributing to the needless death and suffering of babies around the world - the changes we have been able to force on Nestlé are because of the boycott and it will continue until Nestlé brings its policies and practices into line."


Lisa said...

I will renew my Boycott of Nestle in the light of their fairtrade claim if 50 others do 7

Anonymous said...

The Guardian (far more reputable) offer a different version of the truth on the two fingered version.

"Initially the certification will only apply to the larger four-finger Kit Kats but it will be extended to the smaller bars."

Mike Brady said...

Not sure what the anonymous comment above is trying to imply. Anyway, the Guardian article is the same as the Fairtrade Foundation press release, except they have added a quote from me.

John King said...

It's funny that anonymous believe's the Guardian to be "more reputable" - on what grounds? I'd have thought that a commercial newspaper with a vested interest in not upsetting companies with huge advertising budgets makes them less trustworthy.

When non-boycotters put the case that "surely if what BMA say is true, it would be in all the papers" I respond by saying I've no first-hand experience of Nestle's wrong doing - however - Nestle can obviously afford the best legal team money can buy, if BMA were telling lies or even exaggerating, then Nestle would clamp down like a ton of bricks.

When deciding who to trust, you've got to look at motivations - Of course Nestle want people to buy their products so they hire the best PR team money can buy to make them sound like the poor defenceless corporation who have done nothing wrong and BMA are saying nasty things about them.

What would BMA gain by telling lies? Other than a crippling law suit from Nestle.

Wishy washy people who will compromise their principles for a bar of chocolate, and make pathetic excuses to salve their concious make me sick!

There's no excuse for the naivety of people who think Nestle have joined fairtrade through the goodness of their heart and are "trying to do the right thing", their market research has clearly established that a fairtrade label would increase sales/profits - end of.

Yes it's a good thing in as much as those who don't know or don't care about Nestle's wrong doing and buy kitkats regardless are at least now contributing to fairtrade, but let's not pretend that it's suddenly become ok to buy kitkats when there are other more ethical companies producing 100% fairtrade products.

I still won't be buying kitkats!

rosina said...

There is some kind of joint promotion between the Co-op and Kit Kat/Nestle I noticed in my local Co-op, that is very worrying.