Campaigners give two finger salute to Nestlé

By staff writers
December 5, 2009

Campaigners have welcomed the news that chocolate giant Nestlé UK will announce on Monday (7 December) that its Kit Kat bars are to be ‘slavery free’ or fairly traded from January 2010.

But 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.

Whilst both the Church of England and the Methodist Church have sought to profit from multi-million pound shareholdings in the company, Stop the Traffik campaigners have put pressure on the big chocolate manufacturers around the world to eradicate the worst forms of child labour on the cocoa farms of Ivory Coast in West Africa where thousands of young children are trafficked, enslaved and abused to harvest the cocoa that makes over a third of the world’s chocolate.

Earlier this year, Cadbury launched fair trade Dairy Milk in the UK and Ireland. As global campaigners continued to demand this policy be applied globally, the Dairy Milk fair-trade certification spread to other parts of the world.

Weeks later Mars capitulated after Stop the Traffik’s “March on Mars” campaign, promising that their Galaxy range will be Rainforest Alliance certified in 2010 with their whole product range traffik free by 2020.

Sources inside the industry say that these changes are directly due to the pressure that Stop the Traffik has exerted at community level, say the campaigners.

Since summer 2009 Stop the Traffik has also turned the heat up on Nestlé – which is says is a global giant with a poor human rights record – and in recent weeks has launched a new and hard-hitting Christmas campaign designed to bring the giant company to task.

The campaigners say that they have learnt that from January 2010 the four finger Kit Kats will be fairtrade and that this will be made public on Monday. However, Nestlé still refuse to immediately budge on their two finger biscuits.

Steve Chalke, founder of Stop the Traffik and the United Nations Special Advisor on Community Action Against Human Trafficking said: “We welcome the Nestlé announcement. We are relieved for the cocoa farmers and children in Ivory Coast. The surrender of Nestlé demonstrates that by making a simple consumer choice ordinary people can hold multi-nationals to account.”

But, he added “Though we understand that it is hard to make all products ethical overnight, we want to see that this is more than a token gesture. So, we intend to keep the pressure on Nestlé until their commitment is global and product wide, like their competitor Mars. No chocolate should have the bitter aftertaste of slavery. Therefore our campaign continues.”

You can comment to the Fairtrade Foundation about the decision to give KitKat's fairttade status here

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