I have rated KitKats 0.5/3 planets as I think that all aspects of the product need to be of the same standard to be rated well, which they are not here. The packaging is beginning to get better in certain countries such as Japan but we need to see this rolled out globally. They also have lots of schemes and promises to improve other aspects by certain dates in the close future which looks hopeful, but they might be hard to achieve throughout the whole of the product life cycle. Also the ingredients are not great. Although some are sourced ‘sustainably’ although there is little evidence this is true, others such as the palm oil cause huge levels of deforestation and dairy often wastes lots of precious resources and emits lots of pollutants. However, by far the worst section is ‘who makes it’. The level of known abuse and unfair treatment of workers is appalling and we need to see a lot better from KitKat and Nestlé as it is necessary to treat your employees well. This section reflects their morals and very clearly shows…they have none; they obviously do whatever they can get away with in order to make the biggest profit and increase their revenues from the previous year and it is just not right.
KitKats are well known for their delicious taste and are found in most supermarkets for cheap prices but I don’t think you should overlook the ethics behind the brand. I wouldn’t recommend KitKat, at least not until they improve their practises and can provide evidence to support it. They have the ability to make a change, but have decided against it.
One of the main ingredients in KitKats is palm oil (which they have been scrutinised for as they claimed it was sourced it sustainably, but it was in fact not). Palm oil comes from the fruit of the African oil palm which grow naturally in wet, tropical areas where rainforests thrive. In order to grow the plants and then extract the oil, widespread rainforest destruction often occurs, threatening endangered species and rare plants. Trees capture and store carbon, which is then released when they are cut down. This adds to the problem of global warming instead of helping lessen the effects.
Other ingredients are cocoa butter and chocolate, which both contain cocoa beans. KitKat claim they are the first global confectionary brand with 100% sustainably sourced cocoa.
Skim milk, chocolate, milk fat and lactose are all ingredients containing dairy/milk. Keeping, feeding, and raising cows uses a lot of water, land and resources and the cows produce a lot of manure, which if improperly managed can emit green houses gases. 144 gallons of water is used to produce 1 gallon of milk in the US, 100 pounds of feed is eaten per day by US dairy cows and 9% (approx. 34.1 million acres) of the available US cropland is used to grow feed for dairy cows.This is not sustainable. Growing only cow feed can lead to a monoculture in which a single species is grown in an area. This can reduce the biodiversity, hummus levels in the soil, and cause a risk of low yields if the species is threatened by disease.
Overall, I rate this section 1 earth as some ingredients are sustainably sourced and others have a limited affect on the environment. However, the use of palm oil and dairy products can be detrimental if not sourced correctly.
To improve the overall production emissions of KitKat the brand has promised to become carbon neutral by 2025 by reducing emissions caused by ‘the sourcing of its ingredients, the manufacturing of the product and its distribution.
Nestlé are focusing on forest conservation and restoration, working with famers to help give back to the environment, and making a change to renewable energy. They are also ‘phasing out all plastics that are non-renewable or hard to recycle for all our products worldwide by 2025’ as they tweeted in September 2019. Nestlé Japan have already made progress by replacing their previous packaging with paper versions into order to help reduce their waste by around 380 tonnes per year.
The have also now created vegan KitKats which reduces the use of animal products, which has a positive impact on the environment for example as there is less pollution from dairy cows. However, there is a lot of uproar about this as some people believe it is not truly vegan.
So, I have given them a rating of 2.0 as they are trying to better the brand by having aims such as ‘improve resource efficiency’, ‘assess and optimise the environmental impact of our products’ and ‘work to achieve water efficiency and sustainability across operations’. However, they still use many unstainable ingredients and practises. For example, in 2018 they were exposed for using unsustainable palm oil and were banned from using the certification. I have lowered the rating as they do not have much information about their conditions currently, just on their plans for the future.
There is a massive lack of transparency in terms of who makes the products, along with other aspects of the brand such as emission levels, so we only really learn the brand when they come under scrutiny in the media. Nestle are particularly well known for their scandals surrounding child labour, and violating their code of conduct etc. For example, Nestlé faced child slavery lawsuits and much more scrutiny about other unfair practises in 2018.
I feel ethics is a huge part of a business, and due to the lack of information Nestlé and KitKat provide, and the multitude of disgraceful practises they have been exposed for, I have given them a rating of zero. They need to drastically improve this to regain customers trust and as it is so important to treat your employees fairly.