Nestle Chairman wants to sell the world’s water #humanright


Please sign this petition addressed to the European Union, calling it to accept that access to water is a human right. See:http://www.right2water.eu/

Nestlé Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, has rejected this view in an interview. Under his principles, water is a foodstuff to be sold at a price. He claims that by placing a value on water it will be treated with more respect. People who are poor and have difficulty accessing water should be given help, he says. Of course, Nestlé aims to make a buck from this process and is actively and agressively appropriating community water supplies, often in the face of opposition and legal challenges from those communities. It tries to divert criticism of these tactics with its CSV strategy, that is its Creative Storystelling Venture, or what it prefers to call Creating Shared Value.

From monitoring Nestlé’s baby milk marketing activities and working with partners around the world to force it and other companies to abide by minimum marketing standards, I have seen Nestlé’s strategies employed in their full range from slick PR to dirty tricks. I’ve also followed the water issue with interest, particularly the ten year campaign that ultimately stopped Mr Brabeck’s destructive water pumping operation in the Brazilian spa town of São Lourenço – where I bought my cap.

If water is seen as a human right and a public good then it has to be managed in the public interest. In too many cases community water resources are appropriated by Nestlé and other companies. There is information on Nestlé’s involvement in water on the Nestlé Critics website: http://www.nestlecritics.org/

Water as a human right and public good

Baby Milk Action has backed the campaign for water to be a human right and a public good for many years and raised concerns about Nestlé’s water operations at the company’s shareholder meeting.

For example, we organised a joint event with Christian Aid, War on Want and the World Development Movement in 2006. Our special guest at that event was Franklin Fredrick, a campaigner from Brazil trying to stop Nestlé’s destructive Pure Life water bottling operation in the historic water park in São Lourenço. Organisations signed up to a declaration commiting to work on this issue and to calling on governments “to guarantee, through appropriate laws, the human right to water and the declaration on water as a public good, and to work for the drawing up of an international convention on water to be adopted by the UN”. This campaign continues on many fronts.

Pure Life is one of Nestlé’s global brands of water. It promotes it as the official sponsor of the London Marathon (click here for our 2011 press release and leaflet).

We have asked the London Marathon to consider another sponsor and even reported it to the Charity Commission for refusing to be transparent over its policy on sponsors as required by the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission said it could not investigate as the sposorship is organised by London Marathon Ltd, which is separate to the company and not covered by charity law, even though it is 100% owned by the London Marathon Charitable Trust and passes all profits to the Trust.

While the Chief Executive of the London Marathon has indicated he is willing to discuss this issue, he has also said there is no point as the contract with Nestlé is not up for renewal for some time. A boycott supporter sets up an alternative water point along the course, but is not feasible for us to provide alternatives around the route. It is for marathon runners to campaign for alternative supplies if they do not want to be forced to drink Nestlé’s Pure Life water.

Nestlé’s illegal Pure Life water operation in Brazil

Nestlé launched Pure Life water in Brazil after sinking wells in 1996 in the water park in São Lourenço, which it acquired in its takeover of Perrier in 1992. Nestlé’s business model is to become the biggest or second biggest corporation in the world in any sector it enters and bottled water became one of its targets for global domination. São Lourenço has grown up and makes its living from the great variety of mineral springs that come to the surface in the water park, a virtually unique geological feature. There are mineral baths and a series of chapels over the springs to take the healing waters.

Sao Lourenco environmental mapNestlé’s bottling factory is in the area of maximum environmental vulnerability, as shown on the map, left.

Most of the spring water is not very pleasant to drink due to the high mineral content. One spring, the Primavera Spring, does produce mineral water and it was that which Perrier was bottling as São Lourenço water. When Nestlé took control, it sank two 162 metre deep wells and began pumping water at such a high rate (half a million litres per day) it had to build a wall around the plant extending 7 metres into the ground to prevent surface water being sucked into the well. Such was the suction that trees within this wall dried up and died.

Nestlé demineralised the water – in breach of federal laws that value mineral water as a natural resource – added its own salt ingredients and began dispersing it around Brazil backed by a marketing campaign to create demand.

Meanwhile the other springs began to dry up or change their mineral profiles at the massive draw off of water and some of the chapel buildings suffered subsidence and cracking (as Franklin points out, left).

It took ten years to stop Nestlé’s pumping, finally under the threat of daily fines until it did so.

I visited São Lourenço while the destruction was still in full swing. The townspeople were so angry at the fall off in trade to their hotels and restuarants they had petitioned the local prosecutor to take action. He managed to stop the pumping for two days following an investigation, but Nestlé appealed to a higher court and the years passed by. BBC Radio 4 recorded an edition of Face the Facts on the case in 2005. The listen again archive seems to have gone now, but the transcript is available at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/facethefacts/transcript_20050722.shtml

Nestlé’s spies infiltrate campaign group

Franklin joined us at the meeting in 2006 to launch the petition on water as a human right and public good. Nestlé wrote to our partners in the event attacking Franklin Fredrick with false claims. For example, Nestlé dismissed his accusations against the company stated: “a third party audit by Bureau Veritas confirms that we have acted in accordance with Brazilian legislation…” Yet when I managed to raise this in a question to Nestlé’s Latin American manager and now Chief Executive, Paul Bulcke, from the floor of a meeting held by the Prince of Wales Business Leaders’ Forum, Bureau Veritas, also present in the audience, admitted, “our work did not constitute a legal audit as such, nor did it include a review of the on-going civil action”. The civil action had actually been concluded at that point and Nestlé ordered to stop pumping under the threat of daily fines.

 As well as its personal attack on Franklin, Nestlé also placed spies in ATTAC Switzerland, which included the water issues in its book on the Nestlé Empire and invited Franklin to the launch. Franklin gave an interview to Swiss WRS radio when the issue came to court in January 2012 – for details, click here. The court ordered Nestlé and Securitas, its security company, to pay damages and court costs to the victims and, case proven, the companies are not appealing – click here.

Nestlé’s Creative Storytelling Venture – the true meaning of its CSV strategy

Nestlé does not like critics and hired PR guru Raphael Pagan in the 1970s to develop a strategy to respond to disasterous publicity over its baby milk marketing, which was coming to public attention at that time. The strategy developed continues to be followed today.

Part of it involves portraying the company as a force for good and Nestlé unveiled its latest Creating Shared Value report at the shareholder meeting.

We have produced a preliminary analysis we call Nestlé’s Creative Storytelling Venture, the true meaning of CSV. It shows that what Nestlé says it does and what it actually does are two very different things.

Nestlé’s report is full of references to water and Mr Brabeck’s leadership role in this area. He states in his introduction to the report:

“We believe that we can create value for our shareholders and society by doing business in ways that specifically help address global and local issues in the areas of nutrition, water and rural development. This is what we mean when we speak about Creating Shared Value (CSV). We proactively identify opportunities to link our core business activities to action on related social issues.”

Nestlé boasts of cutting its own water consumption, which is to be welcomed, if true. Unfortunately it is difficult to know what can be believed as on the baby milk issue – of which I have direct knowledge – Nestlé’s report is thoroughly dishonest (details in our analysis).

Nestlé highlights that its report is audited by Bureau Veritas. But given its negligent job in performing Nestlé’s so-called legal audit in São Lourenço, that is not saying much.

Nestlé seizes the water agenda

Mr Brabeck is presents himself as a guru on water. For example, he has become a vociferous campaigner against biofuels, claiming they use too much water and land that should be used for farming, while being a poor response to climate change. That is an argument that should be made, but it is laughable coming from the leader of a company that by its very nature is opposed to local production and consumption of food, instead shipping highly processed foods around the planet.

Mr Brabeck also leads the World Economic Forum (WEF) Water Resources Group, is a founder signatory of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and sponsors World Water Week in Stockholm, as well as other initiatives to promote bottled water, such as the London Marathon.

Franklin Fredrick continues to campaign to protect water resources and his article on the Water Resources Group was published recently. See:
http://europeanwater.org/european-water-resources/reports-publications/204-water-alternatives

Original source- http://info.babymilkaction.org/

 

 

 

Fizzy tizzy: Bolivia walks back talk of Coca-Cola ban #Coke


Published: 03 August, 2012, 15:27
Coca-Cola sign in downtown La Paz, Bolivia (Reuters / Claudia Daut)

Coca-Cola sign in downtown La Paz, Bolivia (Reuters / Claudia Daut)

TAGS: HealthSouth AmericaPoliticsDrugs,AgricultureEconomy

 

Bolivian officials played down a recent pledge to ban Coca-Cola, saying the words were taken out of context. Their aim was to encourage locals to switch to a homemade peach soft drink instead of the famous American soda.

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said that December 21, 2012 – the day the Mayan lunar calendar enters a new cycle – “has to be the end of Coca-Cola, the end of selfishness, of division.”

“The planets will line up after 26,000 years. It is the end of capitalism and the beginning of communitarianism,” he said. International media ran his words, claiming the country planned to expel one of the world largest soft drink manufacturers.

But Choquehuanca actually meant that December 21 “ought to be the end of Coca Cola, and the beginning of Mocochinci,” a local drink made from dried peaches, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Consuelo Ponce.

US weekly magazine Forbes suggested that the alleged ban on Coca-Cola comes at time when Bolivia is pledging to legalize the consumption of coca leaves, alleged to be one of the main ingredients in the soft drink’s secret formula.

The sale of the native coca leaf is big business in Bolivia, accounting for 2% of the country’s GDP (approximately $270 million annually), and representing 14% of all agricultural sales, Forbes reported.

The UN declared the leaves illegal under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, along with cocaine, opium and morphine. Since 2009, Bolivia has consistently called for change to the ruling. The consumption of coca leaves is a centuries-old tradition in South America, strongly rooted in the beliefs of various indigenous groups.

The Bolivian legislature recently approved a Bill of Complaint filed by President Evo Morales’ administration to withdraw Bolivia from the convention over its prohibitions against the personal use, consumption, possession and cultivation of the coca leaf.

In support of the bill, the Bolivian government cited Article 384 of the 2008 Bolivian Constitution, which obligates preserving the use of the coca leaf as part of Bolivia’s ancestral heritage, and rejects the designation of coca in its natural state as a narcotic.

President Morales defended the traditional practice of chewing coca leaves at a UN meeting on narcotics in March, and urged the body to reconsider its 1961 decision.

Centre Proposes Six Months Advance Allocation of PDS Grains #Goodnews


New Delhi: The central government on Thursday decided to allow states to lift and distribute six months’ quota of food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in one go.

The decision has been taken in view of its granaries overflowing and record food production for the third year in a row.

Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution KV Thomas has written to the states, requesting them to make the most of the facility of advance lifting of food grains, according to an official statement.

“This will not only ease the problem of additional storage in view of increased procurement but also ensure uninterrupted supply of ration to the beneficiaries,” it said, reports IANS.

India‘s food grain stocks are 71.21 million tonnes as of May 1 with 38.19 million tonnes of wheat and 33 million tonnes of rice, according to the Food Corporation of India.

Thomas has also requested states to ensure lifting of additional allocation of 60 lakh tonnes grains for above poverty line (APL) families and 15.40 lakh tonnes for the poorest districts in 12 states made during 2011-12.

He regretted that states had lifted only 27 per cent of the additional grain allocation made during the current year.

Further the ministry has asked the states not to force the beneficiaries to lift the additional quota in one go and let them take the grains as per convenience.

In order to ensure transparency, the states have been advised that the bulk distribution may be made as far as possible in the presence of state government officials, representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions, members of vigilance committees in Gram Sabhas and NGOs concerned.

Centre Proposes Six Months Advance Allocation of PDS Grains

New Delhi: The central government on Thursday decided to allow states to lift and distribute six months’ quota of food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in one go.

The decision has been taken in view of its granaries overflowing and record food production for the third year in a row.

Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution KV Thomas has written to the states, requesting them to make the most of the facility of advance lifting of food grains, according to an official statement.

“This will not only ease the problem of additional storage in view of increased procurement but also ensure uninterrupted supply of ration to the beneficiaries,” it said, reports IANS.

India’s food grain stocks are 71.21 million tonnes as of May 1 with 38.19 million tonnes of wheat and 33 million tonnes of rice, according to the Food Corporation of India.

Thomas has also requested states to ensure lifting of additional allocation of 60 lakh tonnes grains for above poverty line (APL) families and 15.40 lakh tonnes for the poorest districts in 12 states made during 2011-12.

He regretted that states had lifted only 27 per cent of the additional grain allocation made during the current year.

Further the ministry has asked the states not to force the beneficiaries to lift the additional quota in one go and let them take the grains as per convenience.

In order to ensure transparency, the states have been advised that the bulk distribution may be made as far as possible in the presence of state government officials, representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions, members of vigilance committees in Gram Sabhas and NGOs concerned.

In a communication sent to the Chief Ministers of all the States/UTs, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Prof K.V. Thomas has requested the states to avail the facility of advance lifting of food grains and its onward distribution to the TPDS beneficiaries to the maximum extent possible. This will not only ease the problem of additional storage in view of increased procurement but also ensure uninterrupted supply of ration to the beneficiaries.Prof Thomas has also requested the States to ensure lifting of additional allocation of 60 lakh tons for Above Poverty Line (APL) and 15.40 lakh tons for poorest districts in 12 States made during the current year under TPDS to the States/UTs. He has regretted that the states have lifted only 27 percent of the allocation made to these districts during 2011-12.

Regarding the six months advance allocation of ration to PDS beneficiaries in one go, the States have been advised to ensure that beneficiaries are not compelled to lift their entire allocation in one go and it should be purely voluntary. In order to ensure transparency, states have been advised that the bulk distribution may be made as far as possible in the presence of state government officials, representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, members of vigilance committees in Gram Sabhas and NGOs concerned.

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