Nestle opposes proposed anti-slavery legislature in Australia

Swiss Multinational food company Nestle, which claims over 2000 brands from baby powder and bottled milk to chocolates, snack foods and confectioneries has spoken out against proposed legislature in Australia, which would require large businesses to issue an annual report on “efforts made to combat modern slavery” in the global south, which would include issues relating to human trafficking, sexual slavery, and child slavery. In a statement to an Australian Senate committee, representatives of Nestle claimed that such an initiative would carry a significant cost, cutting into their profits, and supposedly inconveniencing their customers with higher prices [1]. Although Nestle has previously spoken out against the practice after admitting to the use of slavery in South East Asia [2] [3], this statement would appear to confirm that Nestle is aware that their supply/production process, particularly for agricultural products like Cocoa, which is produced almost entirely in Africa, depend on the use of modern-day slavery.
Nestle’s opposition to Anti-Slavery legislature should come as no surprise, given the company’s history of viciously inhuman business practices in the global south. In May 2015, Food Safety regulators in India found that Nestle’s brand Maggi Noodles had over 15 times beyond safe, permissible levels of lead [4] [5]. Furthermore, the former CEO of the company, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, was a proponent of the idea that all water sources on Earth should be privatized, and was on record claiming that “Water is not a human right” [6]. Most major capitalist multinational corporations not only profit from the inhuman exploitation of both labour and the environment of the global south but also depend on it. Nestle’s claim that legislation to crack down on slavery, particularly in Africa and Asia, would negatively affect consumers in the Imperialist regions of the world by making them have to fork over more money for luxury confectioneries like Chocolate shows that as far as the bourgeoisie are concerned, the convenience of middle-class consumers of the west is worth more than the lives of workers in the global south.
“Profits before people” is as always, the philosophy of capitalism-imperialism.








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