We’re always hearing of the constant good will of companies which allows young people to find their feet- and protect their rights. However, lately I’ve grown sceptical that any commercial company can make a difference- without putting it’s profits first.
I was inspired to write this when I saw an advert for Kenco coffee on TV. In this advert, the narrator explained how they are taking on former gang members from Honduras and training them to be coffee farmers and providing a life for them outside of the gang-scape. This is nice, I thought. But then I realised that this was an advert for coffee, and the purpose of an advert is to buy a product- Kenco’s product. I then wondered, aren’t Kenco basically admitting to using slave labour?
I too have actually experienced ‘training’ from a coffee company, well not training exactly. At school, we had the opportunity one day to come off-timetable and take part in an enterprise day. This was comprised of various team building and workshop activities. It was a great opportunity- but it was sponsored by Costa Coffee. This meant that throughout the day, along with our team building, the Costa business doctrine was drilled into our heads- as we were shown various videos by their marketing department. At one point we were even told why visiting Costa was better than MacDonalds- so it worked out very well for their corporate interests.
The opportunities these activities (and there are many more I’m sure) come with are great and valuable- but they’re not the responsibility of a multi million dollar corporation to provide, otherwise we will find their interests being served first- then our own. There needs to be so much more scrutiny on the control of companies over our lives, and more pressure on the government not to out-source their own responsibilities to private companies.
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