Profits Above People – Why I Choose to Boycott Nestle

I was originally going to post about what a lovely and magical weekend I had. I led a ritual online for school on Friday night. I performed the handfasting (wedding) of two wonderful women reunited after many years apart. I led a ritual for my circle in the grove near my home. I gazed in wonder at the big, bright, beautiful full moon. I read tarot cards at the Farmers Market and was told several times that my reading was “bang on”.

Nestle ProductsI *was* going to write about all that. And then I looked on Facebook this morning. For the second time in less than 24 hours, other friends of mine have posted petitions about the actions Nestle Corporation is taking around the world. And I got mad.

I don’t think of myself as an activist. Most of the time I feel pretty small, like my actions don’t have much of an effect on big business or government. I prefer to make a difference where I can see it – with individuals. Activism is wonderful, and I admire and appreciate all of the amazing people who are called to it. I don’t feel it is my calling.

And yet, when I hear about stories like Nestle wants to privatize around the world, making claims that water is not a basic right (video link), I can’t stay quiet. Of course, they spin it a bit differently on the Nestle website.

Here’s the first petition I saw on Facebook last night – please take a moment to sign it.

This morning, the next story I saw was about Nestle trying to patent a plant. Not a genetically modified seed, not an invention or creation. A plant. You know, those things that grow in the wild. Why, because it has medicinal properties.

A little investigation shows that Nestle is actually trying to patent a compound that comes from the flower, not the flower itself. Again, here is their position on the situation. (You can’t accuse me of not being fair.)

I also remember controversy about their infant formula practices from when my children were little. Essentially, the argument states that corporations advertising formula heavily and giving out free samples of their products has led to the decline in breastfeeding and an increase in infant sickness and failure to thrive. I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed all of my children. I know several people who had significant challenges breastfeeding, and had they not had formula to turn to, their babies would have suffered tremendously. I’m not saying that having an alternative is bad. The aggressive and insidious marketing tactics are not so hot.

Essentially, Nestle thinks they are untouchable. They value profits over people. And I’m not ok with that.

So I’m going to avoid buying any more Nestle products. It’s not going to be easy – they have their hands in a lot of products, from make-up to coffee to pet food. Here’s a list of Nestle products. Here’s an app called Buycott that you can download to your phone – it scans barcodes and tells you who the parent company is so you can avoid supporting companies whose practices you do not support.

Sometimes, you just have to stand up and say NO!



4 Responses

  1. Activism doesn’t have to be about the big things. People tend to belittle small actions because we live in a “go big or go home” society, but working with individuals is just as much activism as chaining yourself to a fence or working with NGOs or gov’t orgs. Hell, blogging about issues like this is activism — not “slacktivism” as so many call it. Sometimes all you have the spoons for is writing a few posts, or sharing some on FB or Twitter or something.

    If you can change just one person’s mind, you’ve made a *huge* difference in the world. So what you do is really important.

    Now. That said. I just looked at the list of foods bought by Nestle and kind of want to die, because Haagen Dazs is on the list. WHY, HAAGEN DAZS. WHY. I feel like my childhood has betrayed me.

    Anyway, I would love to participate in this boycott and will attempt to make changes to what we buy once I can go shopping with the Ogre again. Until my leg is healed I doubt I’ll have much influence though, and he does tend to just buy whatever the cheapest item is, because he’s extremely Scottish (also we are extremely broke). Sometimes that means Nestle products. (Also, old habits are hard to break and he does not like change.)
    Morag recently posted..Embodiment while broken

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with you! I have been boycotting Nestle’s since I found out in the 70’s they were sending people in white coats who told the mothers not to breast feed, and to use their formula. This was very misleading, the women believed these were medical professionals. As it was, they would use more and more water to make te formula go further, thus creating more chance for the babies to become ill from the dirty water. I just thought it was so very lo-down of Nestle’s to mislead the women so badly.

  3. Thank you for the encouragement, Morag.

    And I know. I’m disappointed about a couple of things on the list as well. I’m not going to throw out what I already have in my cupboards, because I’ve already spent that money (and why waste something I have enjoyed in the past). And I’m sure there will be times I just grab something without thinking about it. However, I’m still making the effort because it’s a big deal!

  4. Very misleading! And it’s another example of the profits before people mentality. I wonder if that is their internal motto? (Though I doubt it is even as conscious as that…)