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BARRY CALLEBAUT AG

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Delayed Swiss Exchange  -  11:31 2022-08-05 am EDT
2098.00 CHF   -0.57%
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Hershey, Nestle, Cargill win dismissal in U.S. of child slavery lawsuit

06/28/2022 | 02:23pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: A farmer holds a cocoa pod at a cocoa farm in Alepe

(Reuters) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by eight citizens of Mali who sought to hold Hershey Co, Nestle SA, Cargill Inc and others liable for child slavery on Ivory Coast cocoa farms.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said the plaintiffs in the proposed class action lacked standing to sue because they did not show a "traceable connection" between the seven defendant companies and the specific plantations where they worked.

She said the plaintiffs also did not adequately explain the role of intermediaries in the cocoa supply chain, noting that the companies did not monitor activity in "free zones" where about 70% to 80% of the cocoa is produced.

Mali and the Ivory Coast share a border in West Africa.

The plaintiffs said they were trafficked as children after being approached by unfamiliar men who promised paying jobs, but were ultimately not paid for their labor, threatened with starvation if they did not work, and required to live in squalor.

Their lawyer, Terry Collingsworth, said the plaintiffs plan to appeal, hoping to "force the companies to keep their own promises and end this abhorrent system they have created."

The other defendants included privately-held Mars Inc, Mondelez International Inc, Barry Callebaut AG and Olam International Ltd.

In court papers, the seven defendants said they "strongly condemn the use of forced labor" and were working to address non-forced child labor in cocoa supply chains.

But they said the plaintiffs' overbroad legal theory could leave too many people liable for forced child labor, including consumers and retailers who might benefit from lower prices.

The plaintiffs had sued under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a similar lawsuit by six Malian citizens against Cargill and Nestle brought under the Alien Tort Statute, a 1789 federal law.

That decision was the latest in a series of rulings limiting access to federal courts based on human rights abuses outside the country.

The case is Coubaly et al v Cargill Inc et al, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, No. 21-00386.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York)

By Jonathan Stempel


© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BARRY CALLEBAUT AG -0.57% 2098 Delayed Quote.-5.32%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) 0.06% 0.84371 Delayed Quote.0.31%
MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL, INC. -0.75% 63.77 Delayed Quote.-3.83%
NESTLÉ S.A. -1.18% 115.5 Delayed Quote.-9.37%
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Financials
Sales 2022 7 986 M 8 279 M 8 279 M
Net income 2022 421 M 436 M 436 M
Net Debt 2022 1 078 M 1 117 M 1 117 M
P/E ratio 2022 27,2x
Yield 2022 1,48%
Capitalization 11 499 M 11 920 M 11 920 M
EV / Sales 2022 1,57x
EV / Sales 2023 1,45x
Nbr of Employees 13 289
Free-Float 64,2%
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Number of Analysts 11
Last Close Price 2 098,00 CHF
Average target price 2 422,00 CHF
Spread / Average Target 15,4%
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Peter Boone Chief Executive Officer
Benjamin De Schryver Chief Financial Officer
Patrick de Maeseneire Chief Executive Officer
Steven Vandamme Chief Information Officer
Pablo Perversi Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer
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