is the 'least ethical company'?
A survey by Ethical Consumer Magazine found Nestlé is
viewed as the ‘least ethical company’. Nestlé refused
to collect the award, so Baby Milk Action presented it to the
Chief Executive’s representative at the Croydon demonstration
in front of a television crew from Swiss television.
Richard Platt was put in a moral dilemma when he won the
Book Prize. He didn’t know he was being put forward
and decided to donate an equivalent amount (about £750)
to Baby Milk Action. We don’t touch corporate money
and after much thought judged Richard’s generous donation
to be acceptable and not corporate money through the back
door. We would appreciate your views.
processed food, Nestlé’s tells the hungry poor
Executive Officer, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé,
met with Brazil’s new President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva,
earlier this year, offering to donate a thousand tons of
to his ‘Zero Hunger’ programme. Although President
Lula has spoken of the importance of promoting family-scale agriculture,
Nestlé is providing processed foods, including powdered
whole milk. In past decades the distribution of powdered whole
milk has had a detrimental impact on breastfeeding rates and
infant health as poor mothers sometimes use it for bottle-feeding
infants. Nestlé displays its powdered whole milk brands
alongside the much more expensive infant formula in the infant
feeding sections of pharmacies and supermarkets and, so far,
is ignoring calls from Baby Milk Action and others to stop this
practice (click here to join the campaign).
Nestlé’s attempted takeover of old Brazilian family
chocolate business, Garoto, is being considered by the Brazilian
Ethiopia cash grab
In December 2002 Oxfam launched a campaign against Nestlé’s attempts
to extract US$6 million from the cash-strapped Ethiopian Government as the country
tried to deal with a famine, prompting 40,000 people to protest to Nestlé.
It was estimated 11 million people were at risk of starvation. Nestlé criticised
Oxfam for launching a public campaign instead of discussing the issue with them
in private - a little disingenuous as the Ethiopian Government had been calling
on Nestlé to accept a lesser amount for a year.
combative Communications Director, Francois Perroud, gave a
radio interview saying it was in the Government’s interest
to pay the compensation to earn the trust of transnationals.
He did not reveal that it was
the Government itself that first offered payment for a nationalisation that had
occurred 25 years before, even offering interest. Nestlé disputed the
exchange rate being used and wanted four times as much. Following the Oxfam campaign
Nestlé settled for the Government’s initial offer and promised to
use the money in Ethiopia to alleviate hunger (click
for more details of Nestlé's public relations disaster).
is not yet known if it will follow the same strategy as in
Brazil (see above).
A video of a recent
debate between Nestlé and Baby Milk
Action is available for a handling fee of £10 (contact
us for details). Nestlé continues
to lose. For example, the University of East Anglia held a cross-campus
ballot after a debate and the boycott was renewed by a 2 to 1
The Royal College
of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has voted to allow
Nestlé to continue having stands at its
annual meetings. Dr. Tony Waterston proposed barring Nestlé to
show disapproval of the company’s activities, while Nestlé’s
Head of Nutrition stressed the company’s 30-year
relationship with the RCPCH.
Perrier losing fizz
Daniel Kitson, winner of the Nestlé Perrier Award at last
year’s Edinburgh Fringe, was interviewed by The
Observer (27 July 2003) which stated: “he made it quite clear at last
year’s Festival that he neither wanted nor valued the award.”
Book prize refuses Nestlé money
Author Melvyn Burgess contacted Baby Milk Action to check
on the latest Nestlé news when he was invited to be a judge for
a new Nestlé-sponsored prize for teenage literature. Hearing
of Nestlé’s continued malpractice, he contacted other
authors who decided to write to the Book Trust, asking it to look
elsewhere for sponsorship. Nestlé is no longer being invited
to sponsor the prize.
Nestlé was noticeable by its absence from this year’s
Hay Festival. Germaine Greer, one of those who boycotted the
Festival last year was able to take part.
Give us a break
On the 21 March Nestlé encouraged people around the country
to stop work at 3 p.m. to enjoy a Kit-Kat and a cup of Nescafé.
The rest of the world had other concerns: it
was the day after hostilities began in Iraq.
Shelter looking again at funding
Baby Milk Action met with the Adam Sampson,
new Director of Shelter, following
promoted on Shelter advertisements. This deal has now come to an
end and will not automatically be renewed. Mr. Sampson is reviewing
Shelter’s funding guidelines. We will watch
developments with interest.
KCN wants complaints
Kids Club Network’s
Make Space initiative is being sponsored by Nestlé.
The campaign provides support to people wanting to provide
meeting places for young people. Publicity materials
feature the Nestlé logo
Nestlé (UK) Chief Executive,
Alastair Sykes, is quoted at
length in press releases produced
for groups. There is nothing
to prevent Make Space groups
from supporting the Nestlé boycott
and displaying posters and leaflets
to promote it. Make Space
Campaign Director said he
would like to receive complaints
about the sponsorship to enable
to gauge the public mood (for
details see the 'sponsorship'
section of this website).
AGM goes well
Nestlé’s press release on its AGM commented on how
well it had gone, but did not mention that it was dominated by
disgruntled shareholders. This year it was not only the baby milk
issue, but Nestlé’s
treatment of coffee growers,
trade union busting in Colombia
and use of Genetically Modified
ingredients in baby foods, despite
not to use GM in any products.
Families have worked at the
Nestlé’s Fulton factory
in New York State for generations. Yet Nestlé has closed
it down after nearly a century in the name of efficiency. Chief
Executive, Peter Brabeck, has overseen cuts in manufacturing costs
of US$2.8 billion by “closing dozens of creaky factories” (Time,
3 February 2003). The next time Nestlé suggests the boycott
is putting people’s jobs at risk, remember Mr. Brabeck is
a Nestlé worker’s
Rome festival ban
Nestlé boycott campaigners in Italy ran a successful campaign
to have Nestlé banned from Rome’s famous Eurochocolate
Festival in March 2003. They reminded the City Council of its undertaking "not
to accept manufacturers
of dried milk, infant
food and other products
covered by the World
the sponsoring and
advertising of cultural,
sports and educational
activities, as well
works within the municipal area.”
Nestlé goes for pop
Pop group Muse say
on their website they “are very surprised
their version of the song 'Feeling Good' appearing in
Nescafe TV advertisement.
when Nescafe requested the recording. Muse`s management
on the case.”
in Sweden buy Nestlé products for 300 SEK
they get a free ticket to a concert of popular group GES. Boycott
at concerts. The group said it would not have entered into
the deal if consulted beforehand. Niklas Strömstedt
of the group
to be associated
Nestlé is ‘sponsoring’ the UK television programme
Pop Idol with £6 million deal. Keep an eye on the voting
system to see if you can text or email in ‘Boycott Nestlé’ as
Race for Life is sponsored