George Clooney has been Nespresso's brand ambassador since 2006, but after an investigation claimed to find six of the company's Guatemalan coffee suppliers use child labor, the actor is expressing regret. Per Deadline and CNN, he says he joined Nespresso's sustainability advisory board seven years ago (along with the Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade International, and the Fair Labour Association) with an aim to improve the lives of farmers, and "we knew it was a big project when it started 7 years ago." Still, he continues, "honestly, I was surprised and saddened to see this story. Clearly this board and this company still have work to do. And that work will be done." The investigative report was carried out by journalist Anthony Barnett for the British documentary program Dispatches; it airs Monday.
Clooney says the board has "improved the lives and livelihoods of thousands of farms all around the world. They've risked their lives trying to rebuild farms in South Sudan and spent a year on the ground helping farmers restore their farms in Puerto Rico after the hurricane. The simple truth is that this program is overwhelmingly positive for coffee farmers around the world." But he acknowledges, "it is also imperative to have talented investigative reporters showing the board where they have yet to succeed. ... I would hope that this reporter will continue to investigate these conditions and report accurately if they do not improve." Nespresso's CEO says the company has "zero tolerance of child labor" and has ceased purchasing coffee from farms in the region until it can guarantee no child labor is being used. (Read more child labor stories.)