We've been boycotting nestle products for years, I assumed everyone knew why, but recently more than one friend has given me a confused look and asked why, so I figure it's time for a post - and with it being Nestle-free week it's perfect timing.
Even if you don't boycott nestle all the time, we'd encourage you to try for one week. See if you can live without those products and manage on other brands.
So why should you boycott nestle? Their KitKat is fair trade, right?
Nestle is not a fair trade company, only 1% of it's cocoa is fairly traded and they have still not delivered on their 2001 promise to end child slavery in their supply chain, since then they have been taken to court in the US over child labour and slavery laws.
Nestle pushes formula instead of breastmilk in developing countries in ways that are in breach of international standards for advertising. They claim that their milk 'protects' infants when they know full well that "Improved breastfeeding practices and reduction of artificial feeding could save an estimated 1.5 million children a year." (UNICEF)
Here are ten facts you should know about Nestle (taken from BabyMilkAction's leaflet):
- Nestlé Fairtrade KitKat benefits the 6,000 farmers who are in the scheme, but millions of people outside the scheme are dependent on Nestlé. In 2001 Nestlé agreed to the Harkin-Engel protocol for ending child slavery in its cocoa supply chain within 5 years. It has been taken to court by US campaigners for failing to deliver. Only 1% of Nestlé's cocoa is certified as Fairtrade.
- Nestlé launched Fairtrade Partners' Blend coffee in 2005 and, as with KitKat, uses it to pretend it has changed how it treats farmers. Only 0.1% of coffee farmers dependent on Nestlé are involved and Nestlé is accused of driving down prices for the rest.
- Nestlé violates the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes more than any other company. The Code and other Resolutions were adopted by the World Health Assembly to ensure that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely if they are needed. UNICEF says: "Improved breastfeeding practices and reduction of artificial feeding could save an estimated 1.5 million children a year." (State of the World’s Children 2001).
- Nestlé knows that babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and in poor settings they are more likely to die. Yet in April 2009 executives rolled out a new global strategy promoting its formula with logos claiming it 'protects' babies.
- Nestlé drives down standards for the baby food industry as a whole. In 2007 its competitors tried to stop it advertising infant formula in supermarkets in South Africa, but Nestlé defended its strategy before the Advertising Standards Authority, which it part funds. Now all companies may start advertising.
- The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) launched its Breaking the Rules monitoring report with documented examples of violations from 67 countries in November 2007. The report contains many examples of Nestlé’s aggressive promotion of formula and inappropriate marketing of baby foods.
- A former employee in Pakistan, Syed Aamar Raza, has exposed corrupt practices, including bribing of doctors, implicating staff at the highest level of the company. Aamar says he was threatened when he raised this with managers.
- At a European Parliament Public Hearing into Nestlé malpractice in Pakistan in November 2000 UNICEF’s Legal Officer commented that Nestlé’s Instructions are weaker than the Code and Resolutions. UNICEF has called on it to change them.
- Nestlé refuses to debate in public with Baby Milk Action having lost a series in 2001-2004. Baby Milk Action has invited Nestlé to participate in a public tribunal with an in-depth examination of claim and counter claim and the chance to call expert witnesses. Nestlé has refused.
- Nestlé's Global Public Affairs Manager has admitted Nestlé is 'widely boycotted' - in fact, it is one of the four most boycotted companies on the planet, according to an independent survey. The boycott has stopped some Nestlé malpractice and with your support we can force Nestlé to remove its 'protect' claims from formula labels and accept our four-point plan for saving lives and ending the boycott.
You can find a list of Nestle products to boycott on the BabyMilkAction Boycott List but here are some of the most famous ones:
And finally the one that makes me personally the most disappointed:
I was working for The Body Shop in 2006 when it was taken over by L'oreal. The way it was handled internally was appalling, even hours before the news was announced that the sale had gone ahead stores where getting phone calls assuring us that it would not happen and that the Body Shop would NEVER sell to a company that had anything to do with Nestle, including L'Oreal.
Out of six team members in our small shop, four of us handed in our notice. Sad times.
Next week is halloween, and for those of you celebrating with candy, I'd really urge you to consider boycotting this year. Candy companies take huge profits around halloween, easter and christmas, so if you can join the boycott at these times, even if you can't manage it all year, you can be part of making a significant dent in Nestle's profits, and hopefully encourage them to make some changes regarding how they run their company.
You could also consider handing out candy in nestle free wrappers and putting up a nestle free poster to help spread the word.