According to an article on the Guardian website dated 1st February 2016 and viewed by Ethical Consumer in February 2016, Nestle had admitted to finding slavery in its Thai seafood supply chain.
Andrew Wallis, chief executive of Unseen UK, argued that Nestlé’s self-reporting could also be seen as a tactic to head off or deflate other pending civil litigation suits. “It’s easy to own up to something that has already been uncovered,” he said. “By the time Nestlé owned up to slavery in the Thai seafood industry it was accepted knowledge."
Further to the above, a report in the New York Times on 27th July 2015 had exposed the use of forced labour in the South China Sea.
The article outlined how migrants were often sold onto fishing boats where they were held captive and forced to work, sometimes for years.
The article focused on a Cambodian man, Lang Long, who was sold by traffickers to a Thai fishing boat, where he was often shackled by the neck, during his two years of captivity. Mr. Long did not know where the fish he caught ended up. He did learn, however, that most of the forage fish on the final boat where he was held in bondage was destined for a cannery called the Songkla Canning Public Company, which is a subsidiary of Thai Union Frozen Products, the country’s largest seafood company. In the past year, Thai Union has shipped more than 28 million pounds of seafood-based cat and dog food for some of the top brands sold in America including Iams (owned by Mars), Meow Mix and Fancy Feast (owned by Nestle), according to United States Customs documents.
Lisa K. Gibby, vice president of corporate communications for Nestlé, which makes pet food brands including Fancy Feast and Purina, said that the company is working hard to ensure that forced labor is not used to produce its pet food. “This is neither an easy nor a quick endeavor,” she added, because the fish it purchases comes from multiple ports and fishing vessels operating in international waters.
Following the report, in September 2015 a group of consumers filed a class-action lawsuit in California against Nestle over the use of this forced labour in its pet food supply chain. The lawsuit accused Nestle of violating consumer protection laws, including false advertising and unfair competition, by failing to disclose the use of forced labour.
Nestlé therefore lost a whole mark under Workers' Rights.