Coast Law Group, LLP; Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman, LLP; Reese LLP; and International Rights Advocates filed a class action lawsuit Friday on behalf of a San Diego resident and a putative nationwide class against Nestlé USA for misleading consumers about the use of child labor, including child slave labor, and lack of environmental standards on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire.
“Nestlé has reaped the benefit of affirmatively mislabeling products as sustainable and helpful to farmers when, in fact, they source their cocoa from farms that cause environmental devastation and use child slave labor,” said Helen Zeldes, managing partner of CLG’s Class Action practice group.
Nestlé’s labels include statements such as “Nestlé Cocoa Plan,” “UTZ Certified,” “Sustainably sourced,” and “improve the lives of cocoa farmers.” These statements and certifications mislead the public into believing they are purchasing a fair labor, environmentally sustainable product. This could not be further from the truth.
Over 10 million children are estimated to work on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Many of these children are subjected to the “worst forms of child labor” including trafficking, slavery, and exposure to toxic chemicals and hazardous tools. Massive deforestation and pollution are caused by the cocoa industry. It is abhorrent to equate slavery and child labor to a “sustainable” practice.
If you live in the United States and have purchased Nestlé cocoa products bearing sustainability or fair labor certifications or representations and would not have purchased those products if you had known those representations were false, or want to find out more about this lawsuit, contact Helen Zeldes, Amy Johnsgard or Ben Travis at Coast Law Group: [email protected]