Loser of last quarter (Q4 2015): Unilever

Unilever is keen to position itself as a champion of sustainability and making the world a better place, which makes the BBC’s recent revelations about malpractices on Indian plantations where the company sources tea even more embarrassing. According to an article in the Dutch financial newspaper FD on 12 September 2015, BBC reporters investigated estates in the northeast of India which are also used by Unilever.

The reporters discovered employees spraying toxic chemicals without the proper protection, children working to pick tea, and overflowing toilets. Unilever’s PG Tips brand of tea displays the logo of the Rainforest Alliance, an international NGO which ensures that tea production does not damage the environment or endanger the people working on the estates.

The working conditions exposed by the BBC do not comply with those criteria. Unilever has previously come under fire in connection with its shampoo, when consumers sued the company, claiming that Unilever’s ‘natural’ shampoos are actually full of synthetic ingredients.