Thew Arnott is appalled by the shocking conditions of workers employed in the production of Carnauba wax revealed in a recent German documentary from broadcaster ARD.
Carnauba wax is a plant based resin wax obtained from palm leaves of Copernicia prunifera, found exclusively in Brazil. Carnauba wax is considered to be the hardest naturally occurring wax. Palm leaves are typically harvested from autumn through to spring each year. The leaves are left out to dry, and then the wax is beaten off the dried leaves and processed. Harvesting carnauba wax is extremely labour-intensive.
The filmmakers reported that people who cut down the tree branches work on plantations where they earn 40 Brazilian Real (approx. £9.35) a day. The workers, some of whom are underage, also reportedly have little to no access to toilets, have to drink unfiltered water from nearby rivers, and sleep inside or on trucks.
Unfortunately, ARD have refused to name the companies involved in the practices they have reported. Until the company or companies concerned are identified, we cannot confirm whether Thew Arnott have been unknowingly involved in modern-day slave labour for the supply of Carnauba wax.
All suppliers of products to Thew Arnott & Co. undergo an approval process before the commencement of business. Our supplier of Carnauba wax is certified to a GFSI standard (FSSC22000) and ISO9001. The on-site ISO9001 audits are undertaken by the British Standards Institute (BSI). We also require completion of an ethical questionnaire. The 2015 ethical questionnaire returned from our supplier of Carnauba wax attests that the company observes good labour practices. [They do not employ anyone under the age of 18 years old (the minimum age for work in Brazil). Further, all employees have written, signed contracts, are permitted to join work associations/trade unions, earn premium rates when working overtime and do not work more than 44 hours each week.]
We have contacted the manufacturer of our Carnauba wax regarding the allegations made in the documentary and have requested confirmation of the labour practices involved in the production of our product.