In case you missed it, this past November Nestlé and various other corporations were found to have supply chain operations in Thailand tied to illegal fishing vessels that used slave labor to supply some the processing plants used by Nestlé. Dissimilar to most corporations who have found slavery in their supply chains in the past, Nestlé openly admitted to the public that internal audits confirmed the fact that their supply chain was tainted by modern slavery.
Emphasizing that “no other company sourcing seafood from Thailand, the world’s third-largest seafood exporter, could have avoided being exposed to the same risks”, Nestlé has since committed to a “new era of self-policing of its own supply chains.” Many have applauded the move towards full transparency, including Freedom Fund CEO, Nick Grono, who said “if you’ve got one of the biggest brands in the world proactively coming out and admitting that they have found slavery in their business operations, then it’s potentially a huge game-changer and could lead to real and sustained change in how supply chains are managed.”
While most have applauded Nestlé for its move towards transparency, others see its actions as a public relations stunt to alleviate criticism Nestlé has received for a completely unrelated slave labor lawsuit in the Ivory Coast. “For me there is a big issue with one part of Nestlé saying, ‘OK we have been dragged along with everyone else to face the issue of slavery in Thailand and so let’s take the initiative and do something about it’, and at the same time fighting tooth and nail through the courts to avoid charges of child slavery in its core operations in the Ivory Coast.” said Unseen UK’s Andrew Wallis.
This seemingly double standard has created plenty of questions regarding Nestlé’s true motives, but regardless we believe any step towards increased transparency is a step in the right direction. Nestlé is a perfect example that companies tied to human rights violations are often praised when they come clean and make a concerted effort to change.
Source: The Guardian