Bacardi target of campaign over working conditions
Sugarcane workers dying from kidney disease
Drinks brand Bacardi has come under fire from several campaign groups over the conditions in their sugar supply chain.
According to research from campaign group Fairfood International in the last decade, 20,000 agricultural workers have died from Chronic Kidney Disease of non-Traditional Causes (CKDnT).
The majority of these victims work in sugarcane production where men and women often work seven days a week and more than 10 hours a day in the burning sun.
Now campaign group The SumofUs is targeting Bacardi as they say the company does business directly with sugarcane mills in Guatemala, and could help stop the epidemic.
The campaign has been launched to coincide with a new ad campaign launched by the drinks giant this month and are asking consumers to email the company and share their complaints on social media.
Campaigners say that there are several simple steps that could be taken to stop the problem including:
- Better access to sufficient, clean drinking water
- Better access to shade
- More regular breaks
- Reduced working hours, thus decreasing physical strain.
They also believe that Bacardi's direct ties to sugarcane mills mean that it could ensure that the fixes really happen.
Bacardi said in a statement:
"Bacardi takes the unsubstantiated Fairfood International allegations made about its supply chain and human rights initiatives seriously as the Company operates in full compliance with all trade regulations and laws…Specifically, we do not source any product from Nicaragua and we have only continued to work with the two organizations we source from in Guatemala because they have committed to improving their practices and getting and maintaining certified…"
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