The Challenge to Make Chocolate Child Labor Free 1, 2, & 3

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Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe Skeptical of Growth in Organic Food Market

Recap of Fast Company Article (source link at bottom):

“Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe says he realizes farmer’s markets are shifting American approach to produce and food production and that Nestle is investing more money in life sciences and the intersection of medicine and nutrition because its executives believe that how we eat plays role in chronic diseases.

“He’s skeptical of the slow (organic) food movement being able to feed the world but says it’s affected Nestle’s approach to supply chain as consumers demand to know where their food comes from. Nestle’s improved its identification and tracking of the source of food products. ‘This is a positive development,’ Brabeck-Letmathe said. Nestlé says is helps farmers of cocoa, coffee, and milk install control mechanisms to prevent contamination and improve production quality.

“Organic Monitor estimates global sales of organic foods $54.9 billion in 2009, up from $50.9 billion in 2008.  Largest markets are U.S., Germany, and France. Organic Trade Association reports U.S. sales of organic food and beverages up from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010. 2010 sales represented 7.7 percent growth over 2009. Organic sales approximately 4 percent of overall food and beverage sales in 2010. But Brabeck-Letmathe thinks the growth of the elite, wealthier organic food consumers in U.S. and E.U. have peaked. “It will stay the same,” he says. “I don’t think it will grow much more than it is.”

I read stuff like this and think “Yep, HE’S crazy!” He’s helping coffee and cocoa farmers? Only the ones using slaves and toxic chemicals!!  Exploring the intersection between chronic diseases and food…my what a NOVEL idea. Let’s throw in the chemicals and the genetic modification Nestles does on their garbage food that they make billions on…while the world gets sicker. He WANTS the organic / healthy food movement to peak because more and more of us are letting people know just how ROTTEN “convenience” food really is!

But Nestles is doubly evil…child slaves AND poison. I think that people like this man…who KNOWS that his corporations use child slave labor, who KNOWS that his company pushing formula into 3rd world countries has actually INCREASED infant deaths, and KNOWS that the food they push is toxic…yeah, I can’t help but think “evil” when I read his words (look him up on YouTube…listening to him gave me the creeps.)

What’s so awful when you think about it is that organic IS more expensive. Until you get the doctor’s bills…then fake, GMO, chemical filled foods suddenly become a gazillion times MORE expensive than food the way God intended. Spend the extra $$ on organic and Fair Trade food, coffee, chocolate, etc.  It’s worth the price! I heard someone says once: “Shop on the edges of the grocery stores…stay out of the middle where the processed food is. The perimeter has the fruit, veggies, meat, dairy and breads.”  

I personally drink and buy organic 100% Fair Trade coffee through Our Mission Coffee (click to view their site.)

Folgers, Maxwell House, Nescafe, Taster’s Choice…NONE of those brands will ever get my business again!  Read our other post about Peter Brabeck-Letmathe’s view on child labor…disgusting!

BY PAUL GLADER | Fast Company | Sun Aug 21, 2011 >> Read Full Article

Feelings for the children who aren’t children

How do I feel about the slavery of children?

I feel sick to my stomach… I want to hit something.  It’s not right that little children have their innocence taken from them by being forced to become slaves… for something we pay as little as a quarter for.

Cheap chocolate and coffee… these are what they are stolen, used, and their lives thrown away for.

Coffee kids pick the coffee by hand and are exposed to toxic chemicals that are harmful to their health and the environment.  Will their little bodies absorb so many toxins that their kids will have birth defects?  Probably.  Will they ever go to school or have a chance at a better life?  Probably not.

In order for the children to get the cocoa pods they use machetes;  these same machetes sometimes take off body parts!  The foremen and big corporations who exploit them don’t care… they don’t care that these children are crippled for life…they don’t care that the will never have a normal childhood.

But I care.  Some of these little ones were promised a better life and an education but they don’t get that….what they get are beatings, starvation, and possible dismemberment.  They don’t deserve this; they deserve a real life:  friends, family and an education.  But they are denied that.

Basic happiness, denied.  Freedom, stolen.  Love, destroyed.  This is what happens to children as young as 8… sometimes even younger.

Do any of these children deserve this?  Do they deserve to be beaten, mutilated, starved and kept like animals?  No they don’t… no one does!

Posted by Jason Byers

Mommy, where does chocolate come from?

Never had a child ask you where chocolate comes from, have you?  All you know is it’s sweet, it’s abundant, and it’s cheap.  Maybe this video will answer a few questions, you never thought to ask.

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana were historically slave cultures from about the 16th to 19th Century, and as the decline of the economy has slowly been happening for about the past 20, especially after 9/11, it seems they’ve fallen back into that habit, with our support of course.

Fair Trade Towns – Good Idea or Hype?

Ran across this article and thought it a great idea. Awareness is getting stronger about Fair Trade (and I suspect corporations are behind a good deal of the hype and “bad press” about Fair Trade because they want to keep exploiting the poor while making themselves rich!)

When I found out that the coffee I drink every day is harvested on the backs of slaves, damages the environment, poisons not only the earth and the workers but ME because of the petrochemicals and pesticides in 99% of the world’s coffee…well, my morning cuppa java didn’t taste so good, ya know?

I’ve recently started drinking TRUE Fair Trade coffee…and it’s organic, shade grown, totally the BEST coffee I’ve ever had AND pays the coffee farmers 70% ABOVE the Fair Trade floor. Their farmers practice organic farming that is good for their environment and they don’t use petrochemicals or pesticides. I mean seriously, did YOU know you were drinking pesticides every morning? NO WONDER coffee used to taste so bitter to me…AND give me horrible headaches!

Visit Our Mission Coffee and learn the truth about YOUR coffee!

City mulls ‘Fair Trade’ moniker

Thursday, August 18th, 2011 By CLARK MASON

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Healdsburg could become the first “Fair Trade Town” in Sonoma County, part of an effort to promote fair labor practices and decent work environments in the production of imported food and goods.

Healdsburg City Council members this week expressed unanimous support for a resolution in support of the designation, which is intended to promote a fair wage and safe and healthy working conditions.

The idea is to make consumers more aware of the products they buy, avoid supply chains that rely on child labor and human trafficking, and guarantee fair wages to farmers and artisans.  >> Read Full Story

Child Labor-Free Cocoa ‘Almost Impossible,’ Nestlé Chairman Says

According to the chairman of Nestlé SA, one of the world’s largest buyers of cocoa, it’s “nearly impossible” to end the practice, Dow Jones reports.  Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, whose company has come under fire in the past for purchasing cocoa from countries where child exploitation occurs, went on to say: “It’s a very fine edge. You cannot say that no child can work in a rural environment. That is almost impossible. What we try to ensure is that they have access to schooling.” “If they have the access to good schooling, then the child labour as such, if it is helping the fathers in the field and helping with the harvesting, I don’t think this is a problem,” he said, according to Reuters. “The problem is when you use the children only for that and don’t allow them to go to school.”  >> View Full Story


COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE:
Emdubya
1:46 PM on March 23, 2011
Describing the issue as simply one of “child labour” is misleading in the extreme. The real issue is slavery in the production of chocolate, including child slavery. It’s well-documented in the Cote d’Ivoire, where 40% of the worlds cocoa is produced. To try to cast the debate as one that is only about whether children should have the opportunity to support their families on cocoa farms is dishonest. Not to mention that those children who are not slaves may nonetheless be very young. Over 30% of children under 15 work in agriculture, much of it cocoa production, mainly for subsistence. It’s not the same as Switzerland where participation in the harvest is merely cultural.

CentreWing Ontarian
1:55 PM on March 23, 2011
Almost impossible? So it’s not impossible. Make it possible. Make it happen. Thank you.

2468ten
1:39 PM on March 23, 2011
Read Carol Off’s excellent book “Bittersweet” to find out more about the horrors of the Ivory Coast cocoa trade. Child labour? More like child slavery. A child is quoted as saying something to this effect: when you eat chocolate, you eat my flesh. Look for fair trade, and hope there’s truth in labelling.

Emdubya
1:51 PM on March 23, 2011
I’d like to add to my earlier statement that Nestlé’s position on child labour and slavery makes it “almost impossible for me to buy their products.”

time2evolve
2:36 PM on March 23, 2011
The article ends with “If children have access to schooling, is child labour okay? Would you still buy that chocolate?”

Not from the likes of Nestle!

For one, “child labour” says nothing of the actual conditions of these children, so it is difficult to make such a judgement based on this single ‘fact’.

But there are many other ethical reasons to avoid companies like Nestle

These guys also knowingly used sleazy marketing tactics to get poor, developing world mothers to switch from breast milk to baby milk formula (which they could neither afford nor mix with clean water… many children died as a result).

Not to mention that their push to acquire palm oil at any cost is driving the orangutan into extinction.

Child labour is but one of many reasons to boycot companies like Nestle

Bob_J1
2:36 PM on March 23, 2011
I find highly Offensive, Hypocritical & Disingenuous for the Head of one of the largest Multi-National Corporations to compare Swiss Kids harvesting Wine on Holidays to Starving destitute African Kids.

Also alarming is the use of Palm Kernel Oil from Indonesia etc that kills Orangutan Habitat.

I quit Nestle Products & now only buy Fair Trade Organic Food.

jimmy smith
2:29 PM on March 23, 2011
“Child labour-free cocoa ‘almost impossible,’ Nestlé head says”

between the lines what he is really saying is that he and Nestle board of directors are only caring about “bottom line” and are indifferent, maybe even support child slavery in Ivory Coast.

do not call it “labour”, it is slavery situation.

personally I advise you to stay away from products by this company. instead of leading to changes that would reduce and eliminate child slavery from chocolate, they prefer to PR us that it is not possible.

I purchase my chocolate products only from certified Fair Trade producers, it costs me just a few dollars extra a month

Blagger
4:15 PM on March 23, 2011
If we can’t even agree that exploiting children for profit is a bad thing, then what hope is there for humanity?

Would it kill you to pay a little bit more for a chocolate bar or can of cocoa? Would it be the end of the world if Nestle made little bit less profit each year? It’s not like Nestle is just scraping by. I wonder how much their executives get paid, compared to what these poor kids are paid.

j howe
2:57 PM on March 23, 2011
YOU CAN MAKE UP ALL THE BS EXCUSES YOU WANT THE BOTTOM LINE IS CORPORATE GREED.

JimBo from Victoria
2:45 PM on March 23, 2011
The president of Nestle knows exactly what the protests are about. And it ain’t about helping with the wine harvest at the end of the school year in Switzerland. This is a smokescreen to whitewash Nestle’s dependence on child labour as a cheap yet unethical source of labour. Sickening.

Vickky Angstrom
2:43 PM on March 23, 2011
One of the stupidest excuses you will hear is, “well, at least they have jobs.”

Yeah, but their parents don’t.

The kids are not working because there is a labour shortage. They are working because Nestles won’t hire adults.

overthehill
1:38 PM on March 23, 2011
Sum up for the average person;

Child free labour is almost impossible without compromising our company profits.
We are just NOT going to implement that!

Besides, most of our customers do not care who IS employed anyway,
they would still buy under whatever conditions the workers might endure.

Samuel Lount
3:31 PM on March 23, 2011
You can go back to the 1800’s in England, and find the same arguements as to why we should send kids down into the coal mines.

The President of Nestle is a scum bag, trying to compare the work done by kids on our farms and in Switzerland to what goes on in a Coacoa Plantation. What he’d like to keep drawing attention away from is that many of these kids are forced to work, and are not paid. And, there’s little Nestle or Cadbury can do to garantee their product is not a product of slave labour– be they against it or for it.

I continued buying chocolate because I believed the P.R. smokescreen that things had improved for not just kids but workers in the highly exploitive industry. Discovering that it was all b*llshi* P.R. means I haven’t purchased chocolate and I doubt I will again.

Not that my money makes a difference.

It’s a personal decision not to be a link in slavery.

David388
3:24 PM on March 23, 2011
If companies like Nestle insisted only on fair trade cocoa, the farmers would have a reasonable income and standard of living. Then they wouldn’t have to ask their kids to help. Charitable donations from Nestle to local education is just more Nestle window-dressing, which has been their approach to social issues for decades on end.