Coffee giants use child labor

Your daily coffee isn't just hurting your wallet — it's also hurting thousands Guatemalan children. ☕

Starbucks and Nespresso/Nestle were caught red handed

Child labor is endemic almost everywhere that coffee is grown in the plantation system. For your cup of coffee, children as young as 8 in Guatemala are forced to work for less than $6 a day. Starbucks and Nestlé-owned brand Nespresso were exposed by a new investigation, by UK Channel 4’s Dispatches which revealed the coffee giants are taking coffee beans from farms using child labor in Guatemala.

Child labor is endemic almost everywhere that coffee is grown in the plantation system

“Starbucks and Nespresso/Nestle were caught red handed doing what all of us in this field of corporate accountability know that they do. We have been chasing these companies for years, both in coffee and in cocoa. And they've yet to learn their lesson clearly this day and age. And in 2020, they just got caught again with major signs of child labor in their supply chain. You can see that the children are hauling these massive 50, 60, 70 pounds sacks of coffee beans that look like the bag weighed as much as the kid. And they're also picking beans on the side of mountainous plantations, which is itself very dangerous”, Terrence Collingsworth, International Rights Advocates tells Brut.

Actor George Clooney, who sits on Nespresso’s sustainability advisory board, also saw backlash following his statement about the allegations

The Dispatches team visited 12 farms linked to Starbucks and Nespresso in Guatemala – the largest coffee producer in Central America. Child labor was found on all the farms. While Nespresso and Starbucks claim their products are ethically sourced – the revelations also raise questions about certification. The coffee giants condemned the practice and said they’ll stop purchasing from farms employing children. Fairtrade International and Rainforest Alliance both confirmed they’ll continue working with the companies.