Blog

Nestle sees no point in fighting child labor May 11 2011

For those of us little guys out there fighting gallantly to save the world, it’s just gut-wrenching to see a major player step forward and say, “Meh…it’s not our problem.”

So what do we do about Nestle? The packaged foods conglomerate whose last great idea was peddling litter-in-waiting and its accompanying junk food up the Amazon in a barge, is now suggesting that it has no reason to be concerned about child labor.

In a report yesterday, Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe stated that it is “nearly impossible” to eradicate child labor, arguing that in his (and Nestle’s) native Switzerland, “schools have one week holiday so students can help in the wine harvesting.”

Wait. He didn’t just say that.

Yes. Indeed. Nestle’s chairman likened the worldwide child labor crisis to the children of posh European wine estate owners who help their families with the annual grape haul.

Now, we ourselves have noted what a daunting task this fight is, and it may very well be “nearly impossible.” But to cite the thousands of children worldwide who help family-run businesses and agribusinesses in a healthy way, and use it as an argument that fighting slavery and indentured servitude is futile, that’s just obscene. Especially from one of the largest players in the chocolate industry. I wonder if there’s any child labor in cocoa beans?

Brabeck-Letmathe goes further to say, “anybody who does philanthropy, should do it with his own money and not the money of the shareholders.” This man runs a major company.

OMG. Oh. Emm. Gee.