Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney is “surprised and saddened” following a report that claimed children were found working on coffee farms linked to Nespresso.
The 58-year-old has served as an ambassador for the coffee brand since 2006, with Nespresso listing sustainability and workers’ rights as priorities of the company.
However, the British investigative series, Dispatches, has uncovered children working at six of Nespresso’s suppliers in Guatemala, according to CNN.
Reported by Anthony Barnett, footage from the documentary, which is set to air on Monday, is said to show children working for up to six days a week on the farms.
Quick to respond to the reports, Clooney released a statement to Deadline, noting the company has “work to do” and praising the investigation that revealed Nespresso’s shortcomings.
“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,” Clooney’s statement began. “That’s why I joined the Sustainability advisory board of Nespresso seven years ago along with the Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade International, and the Fair Labour Association among many others with the goal then, as it remains to this day, to improve the lives of farmers.”
After listing some of the ways Nespresso’s Sustainability Advisory Board has helped farmers, Clooney stated, “The simple truth is that this program is overwhelmingly positive for coffee farmers around the world. With that in mind it is also imperative to have talented investigative reporters showing the board where they have yet to succeed,” he went on to say.
“We knew it was a big project when it started 7 years ago, and honestly 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. I would hope that this reporter will continue to investigate these conditions and report accurately if they do not improve.”
Nespresso’s CEO, Guillaume Le Cunff, released a statement of his own, in which he stressed the brand has “zero tolerance of child labour.” He also added, “We’ve launched a thorough investigation to find out which farms were filmed and whether they supply Nespresso. We will not resume purchases of coffee from farms in this area until the investigation is closed. Any issues we uncover will be dealt with diligently and firm action will be taken."