Why I Boycotted Nestle

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Why I Boycotted Nestle

Men’s shirt: My partner Ben’s / Boots: eBay / Jeans: My own / Photographer: Ben McGuire

Since returning to rural Queensland and living on a country property that is in the middle of experiencing  a drought (I’ve only recalled 3 rainy days in the last 2 months and it’s winter!), you begin to appreciate just how precious water is.  So of course, I find the ridiculous and elitist statements by Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe back in 2005 totally and utterly deplorable. In suggesting that water sources should be given a ‘market value’ and ‘privatised’ is not only inhumane, but downright abominable. And I don’t care how many of his PR spin doctors are trying hard to prove that that’s not what he meant. Of course they would try and turn it around – millions of dollars of profits are at stake when your chairman has a trigger happy mouth!

And let’s not forget that he also stated very clearly – on film and unedited unless his PR guys want to try and spin that in his favour too – that he does not believe that what nature provides is necessarily better. In fact, he states in the film that organic is not better and identifies with pro-genetically modified foods, stating that no one has become ill from eating GM foods EVER. As I recall, DDT was presumed safe. And so too was asbestos. Of course, only time will tell (and let’s face it, how objective ARE these lab tests anyhow?) The truth is that companies exist to make a profit. Not to be socially responsible. We have seen through history that people are dispensable when there’s even a hint of making a profit.

Truth be told, I had been worried about Nestle for a number of years. I actually have video footage taken on a holiday trip to Thailand several years ago with me and a bottle of water ‘produced’ by Nestle. In the film, I commented specifically on how weird it was to see the Nestle brand on the bottle of water. Since that time I learned that Nestle is the biggest manufacturer of bottled water depending on nearly 800 million people without access to clean and sanitary water to rely on their products. Sounds like a massive conflict of interest if you ask me.

It is clear even back then that I was worried about the multinationals and their insatiable appetite for profit. What often comes to mind when companies try to take ownership of everything provided by nature is the beautifully insightful film Avatar. The film’s clever social commentary, depicting the ego of people, the greed of companies and the lengths that they will go to all in the name of ‘profit’ is a perfect reflection of what is happening in our world today. You only need to have an inquiring mind and an open heart to realise this.

Nestle is now just another company amongst a list of other companies that I have already boycotted, along with the likes of BP and Coca-Cola Amatil. Luckily for me we are aiming for a country life that is close to being as fully self-sufficient as we can manage. And if Nestle or any other company is granted a crooked okay by the governments to privatise water, it is then only a matter of time before they will try and outlaw rain water tanks too. And if that happens, they’ll have to try and remove the tanks over my dead body.

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