When you hear the name Nestle, you may imagine a cold winter night warmed by a steaming cup of hot chocolate, a blistering day soothed by the kiss of ice cream, or a hungry infant finding solace in a nurturing bottle of baby formula at 2am. However, if you are an informed consumer like Annie, author of the blog PhD in Parenting, you see misguided and dangerously misleading ad campaigns, detrimental environmental practices, and socially unjust working conditions. Since her first post in 2009 after attending a Nestle Family event at the company’s headquarters in California, Annie has been an advocate for transparency in Nestle’s operations and a supporter of a now 30-year-old-boycott of all of the conglomerate’s brands.
As one of the world’s largest food companies in the world, the conscious consumer may have to avoid a great deal of the supermarket shelf in order to take a stand against Nestle. Why refuse a Butterfinger or pass up a Toll House cookie? Here are a couple of things to keep in mind on your next shopping trip:
- Nestle has been involved in union busting and denying the rights of workers to collectively bargain.
- The company has promoted misleading strategies that violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, creating dangerous dependencies and on formula and health problems in poorer nations.
- Many of the brands source from suppliers that violate human rights including the use of child slaves and buying products from governments headed by violent dictators.
- The abuse and control of local water sources in bottling practices and the support of environmentally destructive agricultural methods.
- The marketing of unhealthy foods, especially towards children.
With a rap sheet that long, why spend your hard-earned pay check to support a company that encourages institutional corruption, human rights abuse, environmental degradation and poor health? Instead, opt for fair-trade, organic brands or a farmers market. Who knew that breastfeeding, purchasing local products and cooking a meal at home could be political statements?