In response to a legislative proposal in Australia that would require large companies to produce reports on their efforts to combat human trafficking and modern slavery, Nestle — one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies — said the move would be too costly, with the financial impact hitting consumer wallets.
Companies operating in Australia with an annual turnover of $100 million or more would be required to annually report on the risks of modern slavery within their business and the actions they've taken to address those risks under the federal government's draft Modern Slavery Bill 2018.
The reports would have to cover issues related to human trafficking, slavery, sexual servitude and child labour within businesses' operations and supply chains.
Nestle, owner of more than 2000 brands in 189 countries, has told a senate committee that Australia's proposed mandatory reporting requirements could add "cost and time" to businesses and suppliers "which will need to be borne somewhere".
Nestle has addressed its own issues with slavery among its suppliers after hiring the nonprofit Verite to investigate its sites in Thailand, the Herald noted.
Verite found vulnerable workers from Cambodia and Mynamar had been lured to Thailand, often under false pretences, and forced to work in dangerous and violent conditions.
Nestle has also acknowledged issues with child labour in its cocoa supply chain and spoken strongly against the practice. On July 1 it implemented a new responsible sourcing standard with mandatory requirements of suppliers relating to pay rates, working hours and workers' ages.