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Nespresso: Known for Human Rights Violations, Now B Corp Certified

Nespresso, a subsidiary of Nestlé, is now a certified B Corporation. Nespresso is perhaps best known for using celebrity spokesman George Clooney to give a high-end cosmopolitan look to their single-serve coffee pods. Or perhaps they’re best known for a recent string of human rights violations on farms that grow their coffee, from child labor to wage theft and abuse of factory workers. Either way, the brand seems a surprising fit for B Corp’s claims to certify “Business as a Force for Good.”

This is not the first time that B Corp has been criticized for the gap between their marketing claims and the reality of their standards. But the moment offers an opportunity to evaluate what those standards are, and if they are a meaningful tool for addressing the exploitative norms under which businesses currently operate.

NESPRESSO SINGLE-USE COFFEE: HARDLY A “FORCE FOR GOOD”

Nespresso is Nestlé’s single-serve coffee line, providing coffee capsules with high-end branding to coffee drinkers at home as well as in offices and hotels. Single-serve coffee as a product seems incompatible with a vision for business that’s good for people and the planet, as B Corp certification promotes, given the huge amount of waste created.