into the talent
Perrier Comedy Awards, the UKs most sought
after award for up and coming comedians, unexpectedly
caught public attention for a very different reason
at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Rob Newman started what became a media circus
surrounding a boycott of the awards when people
realised that Perrier was a Nestlé brand
and embroiled in global controversy. In an article
by Louise Rimmer in Scotland on Sunday, Rob Newman
said I would certainly urge comedians
at the Fringe to boycott the awards this year
because of the involvement of Nestlé.
In the ensuing
press coverage the boycott was featured in most of the
local and national papers, radio and TV stations. On
the BBCs Six Oclock News, comedian Victoria
Wood, supporting the boycott, regretted the way that
Perrier had become a corporate event.
and other celebrities added their support including
Emma Thompson, Steve Coogan, Zoe Wannamaker and Julie
Christie. Mark Thomas wrote a feature article in the
As a corporate-free
alternative to the Perrier, the Edinburgh-based, Out
of the Blue Trust set up the Tap Water Awards
at the Bongo Club, which attracted over 100 entrants
who were boycotting the Perrier. It is hoped that the
Tap Water Awards will continue in future years to give
talented new artists the chance to express themselves
without being linked to a brand promotion. Emma Thompson
has offered to support the 2002 Tap Water Awards.
and Steve Coogan recorded special video interviews while
in Edinburgh which are available
here. Steve Coogan had been asked to present the
Perrier Awards, but when asked for his comment during
what was described as a shambolic live Channel
4 TV broadcast, he urged people to Boycott
bought Perrier in 1992, and has since become the worlds
leading producer of bottled water. A major part of its
strategy is promotion of the bottled water brand,
Pure Life, in the developing world.
about the undermining of natural water supplies by bottled
water companies have been raised by numerous organisations,
including the World
Wildlife Fund and Save
ethical indices were launched this summer, with Nestlé
and other violators of the International
Code and Resolutions being excluded from the relevant
lists (Nestlé is in the starting universe
of international lists and has been excluded from these).
8 of the selection criteria for social issues and
stakeholder relations states:
must not have breached the infant formula manufacturing
section of the International Code on Marketing of
Breastmilk Substitutes according to the International
Baby Food Action Network [IBFAN]."
is an index for "socially responsible investment"
designed by FTSE, one of the world's leading global
to the FTSE4Good
is a series of benchmark and tradable indices facilitating
investment in companies with good records of corporate
social responsibility. FTSE4Good is unique - there
is no other socially responsible index quite like
it. Independently defined and researched, FTSE4Good
sets an objective global standard for socially responsible
Press Release 13th July 2001
and Foot and Mouth
powerful lobbying of governments around the world has
been implicated in the overturning of many decisions
in the past, but last April it was the turn of the British
Government to feel the might of Nestlé pressure.
by John Vidal in the Guardian
(8 Sept) revealed that Nestlé had headed
up a powerful business lobby that had managed to stop
the British Government from implementing a vaccination
programme to deal with the Foot and Mouth crisis.
from a meeting between Tony Blair and representatives
from farmers unions and industry state: "The
Prime Minister said the Government increasingly believed
that vaccination of dairy cattle should be introduced
in Cumbria, and possibly in Devon."
which operates a factory in Dalston, Cumbria where its
powdered milk is produced (75% of which is exported
to developing countries), vigorously opposed the governments
decision. The Guardian reports that Peter Blackburn,
then CEO of Nestlé UK and president of the Food
and Drinks Federation, was fiercely lobbying
ministers, civil servants and Nick Brown, then Agriculture
said that a vaccination plan could have risked Nestlés
exports of powdered milk and even threatened closure
of its Dalston plant. Mr Blackburn wrote to Mr Blair
saying that British food exports worth $8bn would be
compromised by a vaccination policy.
plans to vaccinate were all in place: 500,000 vaccines
had been distributed and a team of civilian volunteers
trained to help, when the plans were suddenly shelved.
Sadly, the farmers, rather than the industry lobbyists
got all the blame.
countries such as Argentina and the Netherlands used
vaccination, the UK had to fall back on culling. Over
5 million animals have been killed and burnt on pyres
at a cost of £2.7 bn, while much of the countryside
has been closed. Some rural businesses face bankruptcy
(tourism fell by 17% in July, for example).
your Member of Parliament to raise questions about Nestlés
influence over UK government policy.