In March 2020, a British TV channel reported that child labor was taking place on coffee farms that supply Nespresso in the Guatemala Fraijanes region. We immediately launched an investigation and identified three confirmed cases of child labor out of the 374 farms that supplied coffee to Nespresso, at the time, in the Fraijanes region.

As a result of the investigation, Nespresso devised six key immediate actions (see below) to promote the safety of children within the coffee growing communities of Guatemala.



Nespresso has a zero tolerance of child labor. It is unacceptable. Where there are claims that our high standards are not met, we act immediately. The prohibition of child labor is a key component of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program. This Program was developed in 2003 in cooperation with the NGO the Rainforest Alliance, in compliance with the International Labor Organisation (ILO) standards. Coffee farmers must comply with our zero tolerance to child labor as a pre-requisite in order to join our AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program. More than 110,000 farmers are part of the Nespresso AAA Program in 15 countries.



The Nespresso Guatemala Child Labor Action Plan has been developed to tackle the complex issue of child labor and its root causes in the country. Its six action points were implemented together with key NGO partners, the Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests to promote responsible business, the Fair Labor Association, which has dedicated expertise in labor rights, and Enveritas, a non-profit that provides sustainability solutions and promotes the wellbeing of smallholder coffee growers, during the harvest season 2020/2021.

The six action points implemented in Guatemala:

  1. We have doubled the team of agronomists and hired dedicated social workers who supported the local families who grow coffee during this past harvest to safeguard their children and reinforce Nespresso’s zero tolerance child labor policy. Our agronomists also conducted unannounced visits and sessions with social workers dedicated to social conditions of the farmers, helping them address the identified challenges.
  2. The Rainforest Alliance undertook independent monitoring and unannounced audits, which are part of its current certification program and will be maintained in its new 2020 standard, which goes into effect 1 July 2021. The Rainforest Alliance also confirmed that additional trainings and relevant tools related to the issues of identifying child labor were provided to the agronomists, and worker monitoring systems were put into place by farmers. Enveritas also conducted announced visits and carried out independent monitoring specifically on the aspect of child labor in the farms during harvest.
  3. We increased the number of dedicated education and awareness sessions on the risks of child labor for cooperatives, agronomists and farmers. FLA developed and conducted dedicated trainings for our agronomists on how to engage with farmers in a participatory way on the child labor topic. A Children’s Right module was also covered by Terre des Hommes and Nespresso.
  4. The Fair Labor Association developed and conducted dedicated trainings for our agronomists on how to engage with farmers in a participatory way on the child labor topic.
  5. We have doubled, with a local NGO, the capacity to welcome children in child friendly spaces on farms, which helps parents to mitigate the safety risks associated with leaving their children unattended at home. These safe places for migrant pickers’ children on farms provide education and meals to them, while their parents work in the farm. The facilities also offer basic medical consultation for the children. We are currently exploring different options with local NGOs to expand a childcare initiative in Fraijanes.
  6. The Fair Labor Association also supported the development of a grievance mechanism with farmers who are part of the coffee cooperatives.  Along with introducing the technology, we are now helping the cooperatives to understand the benefits of grievance mechanisms, develop the grievance process, and build the capacity to manage grievances. 

We will continue to build on and expand these activities.

We strongly believe that working in collaboration and under advisement from key local stakeholders is paramount to ensure that appropriate actions are taken on the ground to bring a positive change moving forward. That is why we are developing a network of local organizations, the Community Child Labor Committee (CCLC), in order to support and work with us on prevention as well as remediation activities when a child labor case is uncovered. With the Fair Labor Association, we have identified and are engaging with specialized civil society organizations and other local agencies to form this committee. Incorporating worker and farmer voices on this topic will not only identify the issues to address before they become major problems but also encourage ideas and views to find collaborative and sustainable solutions to systemic issues such as child labor. 

The Fair Labor Association will also support awareness raising discussions with farmers and workers, providing guidance and advice on how to keep detailed records and documentation for temporary workers. As part of this work, FLA will train to our AAA agronomists on the methodologies to record workers and their family members to ensure proper and fair remuneration. In addition, the FLA is currently conducting the root cause analysis we committed to run. The results and recommendations will inform a longer-term strategy to tackle child labor in Guatemala, which we will communicate later in the year.

Guillaume Le Cunff, CEO of Nespresso, said: “Protecting children from exploitation is of paramount importance to us. It’s critical for companies such as ours to work hand-in-hand with coffee farming communities to combat this issue, which is complex and driven by a variety of economic, social and cultural factors. There is no easy answer. We have acted quickly not only to investigate the issue, but also to implement immediate, concrete actions to address it. We will continue working with our different partners to devise longer-term strategies to protect children and have a positive impact on the local farming communities within the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.”

This action plan comes on top of the regular work done by the dedicated Nespresso AAA agronomists, who assess and raise awareness of social and environmental performance (including child protection) when they visit AAA farms, as part of their overall support to farmers to increase productivity and yields of high quality coffee, which directly leads to improved incomes.

Economic factors are a major driver in child labor. Nespresso continues to pay a premium to farmers for their AAA coffee, which is proven to improve the welfare of coffee farming communities and reduce the risk of child labor. Nespresso already pays the highest prices for coffee in the region of Fraijanes.

“Our action plan has been implemented and will be monitored closely to ensure it makes a tangible difference to properly protect children in the coffee farming communities with whom we work. These actions complement our existing, ongoing work direct with AAA farmers in the region. We know that the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program has had a significant, positive impact on farmers, farm workers and farming communities in Guatemala and around the world, and we are committed to continuing this work,” continued Guillaume Le Cunff.


The Fair Labor Association  is currently undertaking a root cause analysis to further understand the labor, social, economic, and cultural components related to child labor and find solutions to this complex issue in Guatemala, through engagement of supply chains actors, growers, and workers. The results and recommendations will inform a longer-term strategy to tackle child labor in Guatemala, which we will communicate later in the year.
Child labor is an incredibly complex problem, there is no easy answer to combat this complicated issue. We believe that we make a difference thanks to our on the ground presence, and efforts to raise awareness and educate farmers and suppliers on the risks of child labor.

We will continue to do all we can to stamp out child labor. It has no place in our supply chain.



At the time of the investigation there were 616 farms in the region, of which 374 were part of the AAA Program and supply coffee to Nespresso. The investigation into allegations of child labor involved a Nespresso team of 10 agronomists working full-time on the ground in the Fraijanes region of Guatemala, looking into practices, processes and conditions in all 374 farms.

Given that the allegations related to a period of school vacation, the investigators were particularly careful to distinguish between cases where children were helping their parents legitimately, mitigating the safety risks of leaving children unattended at home, and cases of child labour which contravene local and international standards, for which Nespresso has a clear zero-tolerance approach.

The primary objective, at all times, is to protect children, while also providing an opportunity to the farmers to improve the situation. Indeed, we believe that plain exclusion of farmers from our supply chain does not help remedy the problem of child labor. While we had stopped buying coffee from the three farms in breach of our standards immediately upon discovering the cases last March, we initiated a remediation plan with the farmers, a 90-day process, whereby the farmers in question could make progress to become compliant again with our AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program standards, along with ILO conventions, as well as local and international laws. Following the positive completion of the remediation process, the three farms were reinstated in our AAA Program.

“Child protection is critical for us. We are working closely with our partners in Guatemala and around the world to raise awareness and educate farmers and suppliers on the risks of child labor, and ensure we do everything we can to minimize the possibility of this happening in the future. This issue is, and always will be, a priority for us,” said Guillaume Le Cunff.



Our partner Rainforest Alliance and our teams with dedicated social workers conducted in total 497 farm audits and visits, both unannounced and announced,  in 433 farms we worked with during this harvest season in Fraijanes and I am pleased to report that none of these brought to light any occurrence of child labor. Nevertheless, we are well aware that the risk of child labor is a systemic issue in the coffee producing regions and there is no silver bullet. That is why we took additional steps and tasked our partner Enveritas to conduct a risk assessment in Fraijanes during this past harvest. Their team conducted 243 announced visits on a random sample of farms and confirmed a small risk of potential child labor. To further reduce this risk, we will increase the number of interactions with farmers, providing more trainings and awareness building sessions where risks have been identified.

We will continue our efforts to reinforce our zero tolerance for child labor and further strengthen how we tackle it with our partners and farming communities.



"I am confident that Nespresso’s commitment to people, nature and sustainability is not just sincere, but a core component of their values. We are grateful for Nespresso’s longstanding dedication to farmers, their families, and for the overall wellbeing of the planet.”

Daniel Katz, Board Chairman, Rainforest Alliance

“Coffee is part of our culture in Guatemala and we teach our kids how to grow and work with it. Our farms and this knowledge are our heritage to them. As a kid I was taught by my father how to pick coffee. He showed me the value of work, and today I’m also a teacher in local schools. All children in the communities around here go to school. Children help out with harvesting, like kids help with farming in Europe for example. It is light work, done for a few hours, strictly during school holidays. Taking care of our children, respecting their rights, with schooling being a priority, and keeping them safe is very important to us.”


Luis Aroldo Muñoz Lorenzana - Coffee farmer and schoolteacher - Cooperativa Nuevo Sendero


General external child labor page: 



Addressing child labour allegations

The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program

Nespresso's Position on Child Labour

William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe, on the Nespresso AAA Program

Tackling Child Labour