According to non-profit environmental news site MongaBay, a coffee farm in Brazil that supplies coffee for both Starbucks and Nestle brand Nespresso is reportedly subjecting employees to slavery-like conditions. The revelations come as a result of the Brazilian government’s April “Dirty List” of companies caught operating under conditions similar to slavery.
Both Starbucks and Nespresso gave quality seals to coffee producer Helvécio Sebastião Batista, who operates the Cedro II farm that the government inspected.
In a statement, Nespresso responded to the news: “In the light of the last report of the Ministry of Labor, we immediately suspended business with the producer in question and we will investigate the case. Farms providing coffee to the company are rigorously evaluated and inspected every year to meet the program’s criteria. We will not accept otherwise and there will be no exception.”
Similarly, Starbucks said that it has removed the supplier from its supply chain and will investigate the allegations. The company says that the Cedro II farm had previously complied with the C.A.F.E. certification seal standards, which demand “ethical and sustainable standards” in collaboration with Conservation International.
The Brazilian government’s “Dirty List” is released biannually by the Ministry of Economy.
Helvécio Sebastião Batista denied the allegations against his farm.
This is not the first time in the past year that a Starbucks supplier has been accused of cruel working conditions. In August 2018, the Starbucks-partnered Córrego das Almas farm allegedly subjected 18 workers to similar, slavery-like labor conditions.