[Home]Nestle

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Nestlé are a company that makes stuff like Nescafe?, Shreddies?, KitKats?, RowntreesFruitPastilles?, MintMunchies etc. They are also the UK's least ethical company according to [Baby Milk Action]. A widespread boycott has been in place against them since 1977. It was suspended in 1984 but reintroduced in 1989.

There's a widespread impression that Nestlé changed their marketing practices after the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes was introduced. This is misleading at best: an [investigation in 2007] shows their aggressive third-world marketing is still going strong, and costing thousands of lives per day (Save the Children estimate infant mortality in Bangladesh could be cut by 30% if breastfeeding rates were improved).

The JCR at ChurchillCollege got the vending machine in the bar changed to a non-Nestlé one as part of the boycott.




Nestle's take: http://www.babymilk.nestle.com/ - http://www.babymilk.nestle.com/pages/page1_0001_6.asp implies the premise behind the boycott is some 20 years out of date.

That page is spectacularly written to require javascript. I wonder whether lynx will be able to read it... Ish. I get the non-frame version, which contains many unlinked URLs. Are they going out of their way to be unhelpful?
Could have been worse. Could have been flash. I've seen corporate sites consisting of a single huge flash movie.. - MoonShadow

One might suggest that the boycott is not out of date until the company has folded.  But that suggestion is a bit non-feasible since there are only about three companies you can uy sweets from, and they are all evil.  Of course, this anthromorphisation of companies is a problem in itself since they only have life in the very vaguest of senses.  Then again, I bet if the CEOs were attacked directly (more often) I'd be arguing exactly the opposite.  Still... Churchill needs SOMETHING to be self righteous about.  --Vitenka
Sorry, I had assumed that the evil of Nestle was the stuff it was doing with baby milk, rather than merely the fact it was a big corporation; and the reason for the boycott was to stop it doing nasty stuff with baby milk; and hence if they have already stopped doing that then there is no point singling them out over other big corporations any more and we should be looking what nasty stuff other corporations are doing. If one wants an entity to learn the difference between desirable and undesirable behaviour, one behaves differently towards that entity when it stops behaving undesirably - since if one does not, there is no benefit for that entity in stopping. Perhaps you would enlighten me to the mistake in my reasoning..? - MoonShadow
I agree, except that I've heard that there's now some new issue with them that's something along the lines of: They recently-ish bought some company in Africa. Then they tried to claim some kind of compensation from someone (the government of that country?) that they aren't entitled to, because of when it was they bought the company.  But I really don't know what it's all about. --M-A
Yes, but every MegaCorp? seems to have one bit of evil behaviour or another.  Whilst boycotting them all is satisfying it is also, sadly, impractical.  Glaxo spring to mind as particularly difficult to avoid, and particularly evil.  As for learning - corporations aren't intelligent entities in that fashion.  The people individually responsible for directing that wrong activity have long since moved on and are elsewhere now.  The intent is to prevent other companies doing further such bad things - but yes, that is also flawed because they all already do.  Altering behaviour when they stop means that you are left with a classic "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" - except now, the answer 'yes' is rewarded...  --Vitenka
Purely as a matter of interest, Glaxo no longer exist as a separate entity since their merger with SmithKline? Beecham. they are now know as GSK (GlaxoSmithKline?) - Tsunami
So what exactly is the incentive for any large company to not "beat their wife"? - Kazuhiko *confused*
If we knew that, we just might have happily married corporations.  Um, I think this metaphor is officially dying.  I will take it out back and shoot it now.  Making the company heads personally responsible for their companies' actions is one proposal which currently has a lot of attention.  The flaw is that in some sense companies are alive, with their own internal logics - and unless you have far too much micromanagement the company heads can't know eveything.  But building 'this was so big you just HAD to know about it' into a law is hard.  Perhaps just educating people enough that they respect other people's existence and don't actively try to screw them over (along with, perhaps, keeping the decision makers closer to their results).
The real problem I see with letting up on them is that it allows large companies accurate stats on how long it takes consumers to forget about things, and thus they can make some truly horrific (but rational) decisions - such as 'we can get away with this for x years then be punished for y and still come out ahead'.  --Vitenka

If we're assuming cold-hearted decision-makers leading the company, contrast the "real roblem" above with "We're still being boycotted despite trying to be nice and (some 20 years ago) stopping doing stuff the boycotters wanted stopped. Clearly there is no profit in listening to boycotters, since they won't buy our products whatever we do; so we may as well leave them out of the equation and start whatever nets us the most money again." If, on the other hand, we can assume that the decision makers are ethical, then there is clearly no need to boycott. - MoonShadow




AIUI, they didn't ever really stop their aggressive third-world babymilk marketing.  They claimed they had, but testimonials from African Nestle employees (salespeople and suchlike) contradicted what their European press-releases.  babymilkaction.org and Ethical Consumer magazine (both of whom do research these things) still view Nestle as one of the most unethical companies in the UK (the [least ethical company], in fact, it appears).  This award is for four or five separate issues, including aggressive baby milk marketing in January 2003, and some other issues described on that page.  --AlexChurchill

Fair enough. I am still interested in discussing the "we should still boycott them even if they stop" stance with those that hold it. - MoonShadow

Well, since I hold stances only in a fairly mercurial way, I may not be able to help - but I'll pretend I can and then we can discuss as normal, k?  ;)
The stance is really a mirror of the whole reformation vs punishment thing in normal law.  The law is based upon restitution and deterrant, but the BayingMob wants some kind of application of the ThreeFoldLaw.  Or, to say it in a way less blatantly intended to introduce new and interesting WikiPages?: Your average aggreived whiner isn't satisfied with anything less than the death penalty.  And, of course, use deterrant as justification - if every (person, company, government, whatever) knows that doing single (whatever evil thing is being discussed) leads inexorably to their own destruction then they will not attempt it.  Sadly, this theory is at least as flawed as the alternative.  But it is satisfying in a visceral way, and thus easily adhered to.  --Vitenka




Wasn't some of it something like giving formula milk free to mothers till they dried up, then charging for it? --Garbled (Munching on a white chocolate chunky Kit-kat)

Yes, that was one particular example of their marketing from some years ago. I could attempt yet another reiteration of what the Nestle and anti-Nestle sites linked at the top of this page say, but suspect you might be better off just going and reading M-A's above and the original sites. - MoonShadow



Also a word meaning to settle comfortably within or next to something.

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