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Protesters Picket Perrier to Expose Nestlé Malpractice

Saturday 24th August, 12 midnight
Perrier Comedy Awards, Edinburgh Art College, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh

Supporters of the Nestlé Boycott will gather outside the Perrier Comedy Awards ceremony at the Edinburgh Festival this Saturday night to highlight Nestlé’s unethical marketing of breastmilk substitutes which puts infant health at risk around the world. The Perrier Awards are announced at midnight on Saturday 24th August at Edinburgh Art College and a light-hearted protest will take place outside the ceremony. On the same evening, the corporate free alternative, the Tap Water Awards will be held at the Bongo Club, backed by trade unions such as Unison and the Fire Brigade Union.

Nestlé, Perrier’s parent company, is accused of contributing to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants by undermining breastfeeding and aggressively promoting its breast milk substitute products. UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) says that 1.5 million babies lives could be saved each year by improving breastfeeding rates and reducing artificial feeding.

Satirist Mark Thomas says:

"Nestlé are claiming that they are in the clear as far as the WHO Code goes. They are lying. I have just returned from South Africa and have bought two baby milk tins, Nan 1 and Nan 2. Nan 2 has nothing but English on the label. Having promised on my television programme two and a half years ago to ensure that labels would be in the appropriate languages, specifically in South Africa where there are still many problems with distribution and pollution of water, they have done nothing but try and rescue their image rather than solve the problem."

Earlier this year Nestlé’s sponsorship of the Hay Literary Festival backfired, as key performers pulled out (see press release 10 June 2002).

Today Nestlé won a ‘Green Oscar’ at the Johannesburg Earth Summit, billed as the world’s premier awards for those acting Green (Nestlé was unable to accept the award and so a stand in collected it on the company's behalf).

Nestlé was overall winner of the Best Blue Actor award, for achievement in Corporate Bluewash, another PR disaster for the company (read the spoof acceptance speech on the Green Oscars site).

Friends of the Earth and other NGOs will next week be challenging all the corporations to attend a public debate and will use the Nestlé labels found by Mark Thomas as just one example of bad practice.

For more information contact Andrea Hill, Campaigns Officer on 07970 749329 or Patti Rundall, Policy Director on 07786 523493 or the Baby Milk Action Office on 01223 464420


Archive: Last year's Tap Water Awards - Boycott News 30

Notes for editors

  1. The Boycott targets Nestlé because independent monitoring by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) has consistently found the company to be responsible for systematic violations of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements, far more than any other company. The latest monitoring report, Breaking the Rules Stretching the Rules 2001 again rates Nestlé as the worst company in terms of compliance following monitoring in 14 countries. The UK is one of 20 countries where national groups have launched the Nestlé boycott.

  2. Last year a boycott of the Perrier Awards called for by celebrities received prominent media coverage and was welcomed by African health campaigners. Established comedians such as Rob Newman, Emma Thompson, VictoriaWood and Steve Coogan supported the boycott. A corporate-free alternative, called the Tap Water Awards, was launched by the Out of the Blue trust (see Boycott News 30).

  3. Nestlé is the world’s largest manufacturer of bottled water; with over 50 brands and 16% of a fast growing $33.7 billion market. Nestlé faces criticism over its damage to the environment and local ecosystems in many countries. The promotion of bottled water can undermine commitment to the provision of affordable piped water. Labelling brand names such as Nestlé’s Pure Life can falsely imply sterility, undermining breastfeeding and safety messages about boiling water for babies.

  4. For information on the Tap Water Awards contact Suzy Merrell, Awards organiser, on 0131 556 5204

  5. For responses to some of Nestlé's attempts to divert criticism see the Your Questions Answered section. A briefing paper exposing recent Nestlé public relations materials can be downloaded as a pdf file (1.4 MB) click here.

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