George Clooney Claims He Didn’t Know Nespresso Uses Child Labor

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George Clooney has been a Nespresso brand ambassador since 2006. Fourteen years later, you’ve probably seen him in at least one of their commercials, always holding a tiny cup of foamy coffee. To be honest, the ads probably stir up more business for whatever anti-wrinkle serum Clooney uses. But they’re supposed to be for Nespresso.

Nespresso has long been a pioneer of the coffee pod game, boasting a well-designed collection of colorful cups that each contain a different flavor of grounds.

You’d think a fourteen-year partnership would mean Clooney knows everything about the coffee giant. But unfortunately, he claims that he had no idea Nespresso uses child labor in their production process. He says he found out about Nespresso’s nefarious acts just the other day, along with the rest of us.

Documentary Busts Nespresso Using Child Labor

For a new UK documentary set to air on Monday, March 2 called “Dispatches,” journalist Anthony Barnett traveled to Guatemalan farms. Apparently, footage will show children working up to six days a week picking beans and moving product.

Clooney has long been a part of Nespresso’s sustainability advisory board. In a statement about the scandal, he said,

“Having grown up working on a tobacco farm from the time I was 12, I’m uniquely aware of the complex issues regarding farming and child labor. That’s why I joined the Sustainability advisory board of Nespresso seven years ago…with the goal then, as it remains to this day to improve the lives of farmers. Make their farms more profitable. More sustainable. More safe.”

Clooney told CNN, “I was surprised and saddened to see this story. Clearly this board and this company still have work to do. And that work will be done.”

CNN also asked Nespresso itself for comment on the footage. Nespresso said they have “zero tolerance of child labor” and claim to have launched an investigation into the farms in question.

“Any issues uncovered will be dealt with diligently and firm action will be taken. We will also double the number of agronomists that we have on the ground in the region and we will implement unannounced visits to check on compliance on social and labor issues.”

Child Labor Today

According to The World Counts–an organization dedicated to spreading awareness about challenges the human race faces–there is more child labor still happening in the world than most people think. On their site they provide some quick stats about the current state of child labor:

  • Over 200 million children across the globe are child laborers
  • An estimated 120 million children work in dangerous conditions
  • 73 million of child laborers are under 10
  • Most child laborers work on farms that produce cocoa, coffee, cotton, rubber and other crops
  • 20 million child laborers work in factories that make clothes, rugs, toys, matches and cigarettes

In a statement posted on their website, Nespresso said,

“In 2019, our 400 agronomists made over 170,000 farm visits and trainings across the world…We will continue to do all we can to stamp child labor out. It has no place in our supply chain.”