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Issue number 18, March 1997


Boycott Summary

The International Nestlé Boycott is in effect in 18 countries. The boycott will continue until Nestlé ends its irresponsible marketing of breastmilk substitutes worldwide and abides by the the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent Resolutions in policy and practice. The Boycott is supported in the UK by over 100 church, health and consumer groups, over 90 businesses, 80 student unions, 17 local authorities, 12 trade unions, 74 politicians and political parties and many celebrities.

Page Contents:

Why The Boycott Matters

The following extract is from an account is by Philippe Ammann, a Swiss pastor who visited the Philippines in the Autumn of 1995.

Apathetic, with an empty look, the little girl lies on the bed. On her left cheek is a gastric tube, on her right thigh a blood transfusion cuff and on her left foot an infuser. Evelyne has pneumonia. Her small body is weak because of prolonged diarrhoea. Evelyne is bottle-fed. A Nestogen packet is beside her and nearby is another small packet with a special milk powder which claims to prevent diarrhoea.

Nestlé In The Dock

The January issue of New Internationalist featured a fictional 'World People's Court' in which public figures are accused of crimes against humanity. Nestlé's Chief Executive, Helmut Maucher, is one of the six people singled out for trial.

Update on Delhi High Court

Nestlé has been charged with violating the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Act, 1992 in India. Now, the company is challenging the constitutional validity of the Act.

Pressuring Uganda

Nestlé is advertising Cerelac on private radio stations in Uganda as suitable for babies aged 4 to 6 months, despite government recommendations that babies should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months.

Targeting Irish schools

Nestlé in Ireland has been taking a heavy handed approach to school students n Drogheda who wanted to fundraise for Baby Milk Action. Maria McKenna of Nestlé Corporate Affairs faxed a letter to the school principal criticising Baby Milk Action and asking to meet the students.

During the meeting Ms McKenna was very condescending saying that they couldn't understand such a complex issue. At one point a teacher intervened, asking her not to be so patronising. She also scared the students into thinking that they were breaking the law and wrongly claimed that it was illegal to fundraise for Baby Milk Action because it is not a registered charity. She said they needed a permit from the police and were obliged to contact Nestlé beforehand.

Italian Boycott grows

Over 33 000 petition signatures gathered in Italy pledging to boycott Nestlé were publicly presented to the company at a demonstration in Milan in December.

The Eye dumps Nestlé

Private Eye and the World Wide Fund for Nature have become the latest organisations to sever links with Nestlé. Private Eye has refused to take any more of the company's lucrative coffee advertising following complaints from readers. After years of refusing to disinvest in Nestlé and working with the company on projects in Switzerland, WWF has revealed in a letter that it no longer holds shares in Nestlé.

It can pay to boycott

A Director of a wine company in Cambridge put up a notice in his wine shop stating that no Nestlé products are sold there. He soon received a visit from a Nestlé representative who tried to convince him that the problem was historical and had nothing to do with Nestlé, just with other companies. The wine shop policy remains and is now reaping rewards. A few days later a customer wanting to buy £300 of drink, bought it from his shop - just because she saw the Nestlé Boycott sign.

Cinema ads dropped

Nescafé ads have been withdrawn from the Cornerhouse Cinema in Manchester after complaints from Judith Emanuel and others. The Cornerhouse took immediate action saying the ads were supplied on the basis that they would not be offensive to viewers.
Judith decided that she would not go to the cinema until the adverts were withdrawn after an Indian friend of hers told her that the most important thing she could do would be to support the Nestlé Boycott.

Why not contact your local cinema to see if they will do likewise?

Chomsky endorses boycott

Described as "arguably the most important intellectual alive today" by the New York Times, Noam Chomsky has joined the list of endorsers of the Nestlé boycott. Professor Chomsky said, "There are simply no limits to greed and knavishness in the business world".