…Colgate Palmolive exploiting children for profits
Amnesty International has complained that some of Malawi’s renowned companies, Unilever and Colgate Palmolive, are using children as workers in a slave like conditions.
The companies are using child labour in Indonesia where they are exploiting a weakness in that country’s laws.
Amnesty made the revelations in a report – The great palm oil scandal: Labour abuses behind big brand names – which investigated palm oil plantations in Indonesia run by the world’s biggest palm oil grower, Singapore-based agri-business Wilmar, tracing palm oil to nine global firms including Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, and Unilever.
The human rights organisation expressed worry that the companies continue to turn a blind eye to exploitation of workers in their supply chain and are profiting from the appalling abuses despite promising customers that there will be no exploitation in their palm oil supply chains.
“Corporate giants like Colgate, Nestlé and Unilever assure consumers that their products use sustainable palm oil but our findings reveal that the palm oil is anything but. There is nothing sustainable about palm oil that is produced using child labour and forced labour. The abuses discovered within Wilmar’s palm oil operations are not isolated incidents but are systemic and a predictable result of the way Wilmar does business,” said Meghna Abraham, Senior Investigator at Amnesty International.
Abraham added that there something is wrong when nine companies turning over a combined revenue of $325 billion in 2015 are unable to do something about the “atrocious treatment of palm oil workers earning a pittance”.
“These findings will shock any consumer who thinks they are making ethical choices in the supermarket when they buy products that claim to use sustainable palm oil,” Abraham said.
Both Unilever Malawi and Colgate Palmolive are yet to comment on these accusations and on whether some of products that are exported into Malawi are made by children.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International says it will campaign to ask the firms to tell customers whether the palm oil in popular products like Colgate toothpaste, Dove cosmetics, KitKat, Pantene shampoo, Ariel, and Pot Noodle comes from Wilmar’s Indonesian operation.