Ethics and Archer Daniels Midland

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4. Consider the bill that Representative Engle and Senator Harkin attempted to enact into a law, but which never became a law because of the lobbying efforts of the chocolate companies. What does this incident show about the view that “to be ethical it is enough for business people to follow the law “? Human trafficking and child abuse are major problems along the west coast of Africa. Cocoa plantations are so notorious for the use of forced child labor (and forced adult labor) that U.S. Representative Eliot Engel and Senator Tom Harkin created a protocol to end child slavery and initiate labeling for products that are produced “slave free.” A joint committee was formed and called the International Cocoa Initiative, with the aim to have a standard of certification for slave-free cocoa by 2005. Major chocolate manufacturers (including Nestle and Cargill) signed the protocol, volunteering to end the use of child labor to avoid legislation against the slave plantations on the Cote d’Ivoire. The goal was not met, and the protocol has still not had any effect on reducing child slavery along the Ivory Coast. In July 2005, a lawsuit was waged against Nestle, Cargill, and Archer Daniels Midland. Filed on the behalf of Malian children who are sold into slavery, the suit alleged children worked 12-14 hour days with no pay, were subjected to physical abuse, and received little food or sleep. In August 2005, Nestle filed a motion to require all child slaves to reveal their names, removing the protection of anonymity (and subjecting the children to potential retaliatory violence once their names were lodged in the complaint). The defendants in the case (Nestle, Cargill, and Archer Daniels Midland) filed for a dismissal of the entire lawsuit. In a 2006 rebuttal, the International Labor Rights Fund filed a declaration in opposition of dismissal. The case is currently waiting on a court ruling regarding the motion to dismiss the entire suit. A system of moral principles is the...
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