George Clooney ‘saddened’ by Nespresso link to child labour

Brand ambassador George Clooney on the set of a Nespresso commercial. (Facebook pic/Nespresso)

LONDON: Oscar-winning actor George Clooney has said that he is “surprised and saddened” after an investigation revealed child labour at Guatemalan coffee farms linked to the Nespresso coffee he advertises.

The investigation carried out by Britain’s Channel 4 News shows children working on six farms in Guatemala, the largest coffee producer in Central America.

The farms allegedly supply to Nestle-owned coffee giant Nespresso where Clooney is brand ambassador.

“Clearly this board and this company still have work to do. And that work will be done,” Clooney said in a statement.

Clooney, who worked on his family’s tobacco farm in Kentucky during summer holidays as a child, said he was “uniquely aware of the complex issues regarding farming and child labour.”

Nespresso, headquartered in Switzerland, says it sources all its coffee beans ethically and said in a statement it was investigating the allegations.

“We have immediately stopped purchases of coffee from all farms in the region and we will not resume purchases until we are able to investigate and be assured that child labour is not being used,” said Nespresso chief executive Guillaume Le Cunff.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation in December found that coffee produced by forced labour in Brazil was stamped slavery-free by top certification schemes and sold at a premium to major brands like Nespresso.