Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Did Nestlé Do To Deserve a Boycott?

Nestlé is a major player in the world, selling products that range from breakfast cereals to coffee. But there are two main areas that Nestlé is the most known for: infant formula and candy. Unfortunately, it is in these two areas that Nestlé has not only made the most money, but also created the most damage world wide.

You may recall as a child a mass boycott of Nestlé and their many brands. Perhaps your parents joined the boycott, perhaps you're still boycotting Nestlé today, or perhaps you weren't aware at all. In any case, the boycott ended in 1984 but was reinstated in 1988 because Nestlé did not live up to the promises it made. The boycott is is still active today.

    •    CRIMES AGAINST BABIES: Nestlé contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world by aggressively marketing baby foods in developing nations, in breach of the World Health Organization's international marketing standards. Nestlé says they don't market to parents but they market aggressively to medical professionals and provide free formula to hospitals. Parents are convinced to use formula instead of breastfeeding and by the time their free supply of the formula runs out, mothers' ability to breastfeed has disappeared and Nestlé has a paying customer at the expense of a child's health and life.

    •    Regardless of how you feel about the use of formula in your life, it's important to understand that in the developing world, the difference between formula and breastfeeding can mean life or death to infants due to the lack of availability of clean water, lack of means of sterilizing bottles and that parents are often unable to prepare bottles to minimum specifications because they can either not read their own language or read the English directions on the label. Additionally, because formula is so expensive, many parents water down the formula to make canisters last longer. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed.

    •    CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN: Nestlé is one of the major cocoa importers that still sources its cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast. According to the US State Department, there are approximately 109,000 children working in the country's cocoa industry under slave-like conditions. Nestlé promised in 2001 to make its chocolate "child labor-free" by 2005 but that promise was broken and the deadline ignored.

    •    CRIMES AGAINST COMMUNITIES: Nestlé is also guilty of pilfering public water supplies worldwide for profit, wreaking damage on the environment as well as communities. Their water mining operations have caused damage to watersheds after assuring rural communities they would be "good corporate neighbors." Small towns that refused to throw open their water supplies to Nestlé have been targeted with litigation designed to bully and bankrupt. For more information, visit http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=240

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What is Boo Nestle?

Participation in a campaign as far-reaching as the Nestle Boycott can be overwhelming.

But it's exactly because so many of the products we feed our families are made by Nestle that we can help protect vulnerable children and families around the world with our action.

So this Halloween take one concrete step: don't buy any Nestle candy for the ghouls and goblins knocking at your door.

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