Nestlé: mind the reality gap

Posted by jamie — 15 April 2010 at 5:54pm - Comments

Nestlé's AGM has broken up and, while shareholders feasted on cup-a-soups and instant noodles (I kid you not), I spoke to Ian and Pat, two of our campaigners who spent all afternoon in the meeting.

According to Ian, the moment our banners popped down was perfectly timed. Nestlé's chair, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, was explaining how well the company had performed over the last fiscal year when noises were heard up in the roof and leaflets began raining down, not at all unlike a shower of cash. The shrieks from those of a nervous disposition as the two banners were unfurled only added to the excitement.

Not long after this, it was Pat who had the honour of addressing the shareholders. Apparently, there wasn't much of a reaction from the crowd apart from a few boos and some heckles, and unfortunately the orang-utan finger from our Kit Kat video got stuck in his pocket so couldn't be used as a prop.

But all of the questions Pat asked - such as when Nestlé is going to cut deforestation out of its supply chain - -went unanswered. Also side-stepped was the suggestion that ignoring over 200,000 emails and 1.3 million video views was perhaps not the best strategy for a consumer company.

Mr Brabeck-Letmathe did, however, say two things. Two quite astonishing things.

Apparently, according to Mr Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestlé isn't the problem; instead it's the increasing use of biofuels which pose the threat to Indonesia's rainforests. True, biofuels are a problem - but passing the buck doesn't address Nestlé's role.

Mr Brabeck-Letmathe then suggested that Greenpeace should join Nestlé in a coalition calling for a moratorium on deforestation for palm oil. Now I may be splitting hairs, but didn't we ask him to do that two years ago when we launched our campaign for a moratorium?

So, as Nestlé shareholders leave Lausanne with your messages ringing in their ears (which are still coming as the US, Asia and Australasia wake up), it has become apparent that something of a reality gapexists in the higher echelons of Nestlé. A gap between what they think and what hundreds of thousands of their customers think; and as the saying goes, the customer is always right.

Well done,guys, wish I could have been there.
I hope, though, we do take them up now on their offer of a coalition for a moratorium.

Makes me proud, bloody wonderful

John Halladay, Coordinator Canterbury & District Greenpeace

From baby milk in the 1970s to Palm oil in 2010 - when will Nestle learn they can't get away with it? Well done Greenpeace - that's why we've been members for so many years....
Pam and Stuart MacPherson, grandparents dedicated to telling the younger ones not to buy from Nestle

For Earth Day 2010, WAVE, a European Commission initiative, is launching a unique, visually enabled debate forum specifically dedicated to climate change and includes a debate on Nestle and Palm Oil and we would like to invite anyone to join the Wave and participate in a global day of action conversations.

www.jointhewave.org!

Its free and fun!

Well done,guys, wish I could have been there. I hope, though, we do take them up now on their offer of a coalition for a moratorium. Makes me proud, bloody wonderful John Halladay, Coordinator Canterbury & District Greenpeace

From baby milk in the 1970s to Palm oil in 2010 - when will Nestle learn they can't get away with it? Well done Greenpeace - that's why we've been members for so many years.... Pam and Stuart MacPherson, grandparents dedicated to telling the younger ones not to buy from Nestle

For Earth Day 2010, WAVE, a European Commission initiative, is launching a unique, visually enabled debate forum specifically dedicated to climate change and includes a debate on Nestle and Palm Oil and we would like to invite anyone to join the Wave and participate in a global day of action conversations. www.jointhewave.org! Its free and fun!

About Jamie

I'm one of the editors of the website, and I do a lot of work on the Get Active section, as well as doing web stuff for the forests campaign. I've worked for Greenpeace since 2006 and, coming from a background as a freelance writer and web producer, it's been something of an education to be part of a direct action organisation. I'm from Cumbria originally but now I live in north London - I came to study here and somehow have never left.

My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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