Led by the Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit Fair World Project, the letter references numerous documented human rights violations found in Nespresso’s supply chain in recent years, including instances of child labor and wage theft.
The letter also calls into question the environmental impacts of Nespresso’s operations given the single-serve, single-use nature of its products, coffee-filled aluminum capsules typically destined for plastic-laden brewing devices.
According to Fair World Project, these business practices run contrary to the “B a force for good” message put forth by the nonprofit B Lab, which oversees B Corp certification and maintains a stated mission to transform the global economy to “benefit all people, communities, and the planet.”
“Alarmed by Nespresso’s certification, Fair World Project and the concerned Certified B Corp brands want greater accountability and higher standards to avoid ‘greenwashing’ by the certification and are calling on the greater Certified B Corp community to demand the same,” Fair World Project said in an announcement of the letter.
Nespresso Global did not respond to DCN’s requests for comment.
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In an announcement of the company’s certification released in April, Nespresso CEO Guillaume Le Cunff stated, “B Corp certification reflects a 30-year Nespresso commitment to sustainability, transparency and responsible business. We are immensely proud to be joining a community of like minds who share our belief that profit and purpose go hand-in-hand. This certification brings added value for our customers and affirms to Nespresso fans that their favourite coffee brand is doing business the right way.”
To this point, more than 20 currently certified B Corp companies have signed the letter calling for stricter standards, including coffee roasters and traders such as Cooperative Coffees, Peace Coffee, Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Endiro Coffee, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company and Exilior Coffee.
“As businesses dedicated to social good, we stand in solidarity with social and environmental organizations and with those most negatively impacted by Nespresso,” the letter states. “In the interest of the movement to ‘use business as a force for good,’ we hope to see these critical improvements to the B Impact Assessment and B Corp Certification process. In turn we hope these changes can help hold Nespresso and other companies — including ourselves — accountable over time as we build an economy that is inclusive, regenerative, and just for all.”
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