Brazilian Coffee Slave Labor (Nescafé, Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Coffee-mate and Senseo)


According to a 2015 Guardian article,

“Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of coffee, accounting for about one-third of the global market. Yet workers often face debt bondage, non-existent work contracts, exposure to deadly pesticides, lack of protective equipment, and accommodation without doors, mattresses or drinking water, the DanWatch report says. Such working conditions contravene Brazilian and international law, as well as the ethical codes Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts require from their suppliers.

Neither Nestlé nor Jacobs Douwe Egberts, which together account for 39% of the global coffee market, know the names of all the plantations that grow their coffee as they also buy beans from middlemen and exporters in a muddled supply chain, claims DanWatch.

As a result, both companies – whose brands include Nescafé, Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Coffee-mate and Senseo – admit that while they do not buy beans directly from “blacklisted” plantations where human rights abuses are known to take place, they cannot rule out that slavery-like conditions may exist in their supply chain.”

Learn More

DanWatch Investigation: Bitter Coffee

Guardian: Nestlé Admits Slave Labour Risk on Brazil Coffee Plantations

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Fair Trade Coffee

14 Fair Trade Coffee Brands Worth Waking Up For

Additional ethical coffee brands

  • Coffee Justo – from Mexico – not only pays good wages for the growers, but also pays for health care, social security and retirement.
  • AgroEco® Coffee is a product of the Community Agroecology Network Trade Innovations Program and directly links farmers, roasters, and consumers to generate higher returns to small-scale coffee farmers transitioning toward sustainability while improving rural livelihoods.
  • Coop Coffee
  • Equal Exchange – supports the authentic and original fair trade model by purchasing organic coffee through democratically organized small farmer cooperatives; it also supports equitable distribution of economic gains and promotes labor rights and the right of workers to organize, and it promotes safe and sustainable farming methods and working conditions.
  • Thanksgiving Coffee Company
  • Café Zapatista ~ Zapatista Coffee
  • Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

 Look for these logos to ensure a product is fair trade at your local grocery

fair-trade-logos1Guide to  Fair Trade logos – Why?

certifiedverifiedCertified vs Verified – Why?

utz-logo  Certification for coffee, cocoa, and tea – Why?


Direct Trade Coffee

  • Direct trade is a term used by coffee roasters who buy straight from the growers, cutting out both the traditional middleman buyers and sellers and also the organizations that control certifications such as Fair Trade, for example. The Direct trade model builds mutually beneficial and respectful relationships with individual producers or cooperatives in coffee-producing countries.
    • Some roasters do it because they are dissatisfied with the third-party certification programs, while others want to have more control over aspects ranging from the quality of the coffee, to social issues, or environmental concerns.
    • The down side is there’s no third party monitor.  The consumer must believe in the company to stick to its own standards, without third-party certification. There’s no outside enforcement, so standards could be changed or weakened at any time.