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:

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:

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:

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:

Original source-




After Indian student’s death in UK, university warns students against weight-loss pills

Edited by Amit Chaturvedi | Updated: February 24, 2013 , NDTV

After Indian student's death in UK, university warns students against weight-loss pills

Photo credit: from the Facebook page of Sarmad Alladin

London: The death of 18-year-old student from Hyderabad has shocked many in the UK. Reports say that Sarmad Alladin died after apparently taking ‘lethal’ bodybuilding pills to help him lose weight.

Known as ‘Mr Muscles’, Alladin was living in university accommodation in Epsom, Surrey, while attending the specialist art and design university in nearby Farnham University. He was taken to hospital hours after taking tablets which contained the drug Dinitrophenol (DNP), which has been linked to several deaths.

His parents arrived in the UK on Friday to take the body home. As they and his friends deal with the tragedy, a very personal loss, tributes have been pouring in on the social networking site Facebook.

Fitness fanatic Alladin was taken to hospital just hours after praising the fat-burning DNP tablets on Facebook. He had also posted snaps of his new muscles online.

“Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained,” a statement from the police said.

A friend of the family told NDTV that the parents were still very shocked and shaken. They are now awaiting the post-mortem report.

For Manjit Thandi, a school teacher who taught the boy a few years ago this was devastating news. Ms Thandi taught Sarmad when he first arrived in the UK and has fond memories of the time he was in her class.

“He had a lovely sense of humour. And it would be just innocent things that would make him laugh and keep the others amused. And what I always find touching is that whenever we find students coming from India – how polite they are. it’s always while answering a question, “yes ma’am” – and I would always point out to the rest of the students that those days have gone in this country and a teacher’s position is not what it used to be.”

She also remembers the time when he wanted to share sweets from India with her and the entire class.

The “devastated” university he attended warned all its students. “If you have bought or obtained Dinitrophenol (DNP) or Dymetadrinetablets online or anywhere else, please stop using them immediately. The drugs are potentially lethal.”

University Vice-Chancellor Dr Simon Ofield-Kerr said, “As a university we are devastated by the untimely and tragic passing of one of our students, Sarmad Alladin. Our sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

While the university has called DNP potentially lethal, the drug is sold mostly over the Internet under a number of different names but contains 2, 4-Dinitrophenol. Online pharmacies promise to deliver these pills for less than 25 pounds. And with the click of a mouse these drugs can reach you within days. Some websites do list the dangers of DNP but still sell the pill.

Officers are now waiting for a report from the Coroner’s Office.

Nestlé Found Guilty of Spying on Swiss Activists

by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
January 30th, 2013

Image by phdinparenting. Used under Creative Commons license.

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, has been found guilty of spying on Swiss activists in 2003 with the help of Securitas, a private security company. Jean-Luc Genillard, president of the Lausanne civil court, told the two companies to pay 3,000 Swiss Francs ($3,267.55) to each of nine victims.

Vevey, Switzerland, based Nestlé sells $91 billion worth of products a year such as Nescafé coffee, KitKat chocolates and Maggi noodles. The company has frequently been criticized for marketing baby food in poor countries in violation of a 1981 World Health Organization code that regulates the advertising of breast milk substitutes. It has also come under fire from Greenpeace for using palm oil grown on deforested land in Borneoand buying cocoa beans from plantations that used child labor in Cote d’Ivoire in a film entitled “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”

In 2003, a group of activists with the Association pour la Taxation des Transactions pour l’Aide aux Citoyens (ATTAC) in Vaud, Switzerland, started working on a book on the global policies of Nestlé. At the time aSecuritas employee started to attend meetings using the false name of Sara Meylan.

In June 2008, Temps Présent, a Swiss TV program, revealed that the Securitas agent had briefed Nestlé security personnel as well as corporate communications staff about the ATTAC meetings she attended including ones that were held in activist homes. Securitas also provided this information to the local police.

ATTAC members sued Nestlé after the news report was aired. “We are revolted by this practice, which overturns the principles of freedom of expression and basic democratic rights,” a press release from the group stated. “We condemn the role played by Securitas. This private security company, whose activities traditionally consist of guarding buildings and car parks, accepted a contract to spy on a group of people who in no way represented a threat or a danger, except for the fact that the results of their research activities could not be controlled by the transnational Nestlé.”

In recent years Nestlé has started to respond directly to some complaints of activist groups like Greenpeace, according to the Financial Times. “For a company like ours to prosper over the long term we have to create value for the communities in which we operate,” Janet Voûte, Nestlé’s global head of public affairs, told the newspaper. “And we fundamentally believe we cannot create shared value – not just for shareholders but for society – alone.”

Despite the new public relations strategy to contain activists, the company has been unable to quash the Vaud group. Although ATTAC dropped a criminal case against the two companies in 2009, it continued to press a civil claim in Lausanne courts which it dubbed “Nestlégate.”

“We are very satisfied that the civil court has now condemned NESTLE’s and SECURITAS AG’s spying activities,” ATTAC said in a press release issued after the judge ruled against the companies last week. “Nevertheless we’d like to point out that we are continuing to critically observe the worldwide activities of multinational corporations like NESTLE, especially concerning its hostile trade union policies and the excessive pumping of groundwater in different parts of the world.”

Nestlé reacted to the court ruling “with disappointment” although it added that “incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles.”


#Nestle NAN H.A. 1 Gold baby formula ‘making children sick’

HA 1 Gold_00103

Nestle‘s NAN H.A. 1 Gold. Picture: Nestle

Harry Paganin

Robert Paganin fed the new formula to his six-month-old son Harry for four weeks before discovering it was making his son sick. Picture: Supplied

Constant crying, rashes, dark green watery poo, dehydration and vomiting are among the symptoms babies have been experiencing since Nestle’s NAN H.A. 1 Gold switched to a “new improved” recipe.

Sarah Wells from Launceston in Tasmania put her 10-week-old son Oliver on the new formula and said she immediately noticed the bad side effects.

“A week after being on the formula, and the second can, Oliver’s face broke out in nasty eczema,” Ms Wells told

Ms Wells contacted Nestle, and was told by a customer service representative that babies often have reactions when switching to a new formula, then offered a $50 gift voucher.

Robert Paganin from Blackburn North in Victoria fed the new formula to his six-month-old son Harry for four weeks before he discovered it was making his son sick.

“Within 48 hours of changing he was fine, he was drinking the bigger bottle and finishing it, whereas on the other one he was refusing to drink,” Mr Paganin said.

“I am extremely disappointed and disgusted in Nestle playing with our babies’ wellbeing.”

Nestle external relations manager Margaret Stuart said the company ran tests when it switched calcium chloride for potassium chloride in the formula recipe.

“This testing did not show anything that could cause the reactions that parents are describing,” Ms Stuart said.

Ms Stuart said that the company takes concerns from parents very seriously, and in response to comments Nestle is running further testing using an independent laboratory in Australia.

“While we do not yet have final results, preliminary results of the microbiological profile indicate no food safety issue,” she said.

In the past six weeks, more than 100 reviews and comments have been posted by angry parents on consumer website Product Review.

“Old recipe was fantastic, new and improved a total disgrace , after 3-4 feeds of Nan H.A. Gold1 my baby was producing dark green liquid poo, excessive wind and restlessness,” posted Brett4646.

Meanwhile Joy16 posted: “We haven’t had such terrible days and nights like this before. Our twins cried constantly for 6 hours.”

“It is terrible!! It’s even worse when u ring the company and tell them and they still don’t take you seriously! My son smells revolting! He cries non stop!,” posted 4babies.

Related Coverage

Read more:

Nestlé in court for surveillance of ATTAC (25 January 2012)

On 24 and 25 January 2012, the multinational food-industry corporation Nestlé and the Swiss private security firm Securitas will be in court in Lausanne, Switzerland, defending themselves against a civil suit for spying on the “anti-globalization” movement ATTAC. This trial, which has been delayed for a long time, will finally lift the veil of secrecy that has been draped over this spying scandal.

Nestlé and Securitas are accused of illegal surveillance and violations of privacy of ATTAC and its members. The charges were filed after Télévision Suisse Romande revealed on 12 June 2008 that a group of ATTAC members in Canton Vaud, who were working on a book on Nestlé’s policies, had been infiltrated and spied on by a Securitas employee on behalf of Nestlé. The woman joined the ATTAC group in 2003 under the false name “Sara Meylan”, attended working meetings (sometimes in the homes of members), and prepared detailed reports on them for Nestlé. As a member of the group, she had access to internal information, and to all the research by the authors, and to their sources and contacts, both in Switzerland and abroad.

On 26 September 2008, the plaintiffs denounced to the examining magistrate another Securitas spy, who was still active in ATTAC in 2008 under her real name. Nestlé and Securitas had claimed initially that the spying had been ended with the departure of “Sara Meylan” in June 2004. When this second secret agent was discovered, the companies said that this agent had not written any more confidential reports for Securitas and Nestlé since 2005.

The criminal proceedings were dropped on 29 July 2009 after a faulty investigation. The Canton examining magistrate at the time accepted the statements by Nestlé and Securitas and gave as one reason for dismissing the case the three-year statute of limitation of the Data Privacy Act – although the second Nestlé-Securitas agent had still been active in ATTAC in 2008!

Now the civil proceedings will come to trial on 24-25 January 2012. The trial is open to the public, and is thus a unique opportunity to shed light on the activities of Nestlé and Securitas.

Dear Sirs,

We were shocked to learn that Nestlé is being sued in Switzerland for surveillance of the organization ATTAC, which has written a critical book about the negative effects of Nestlé‘s activities.

Nestlé had ATTAC infiltrated by at least two agents of the private security firm Securitas over a period of several years. The agents, one of them under the false name “Sara Meylan”, joined the ATTAC group concerned, attended their meetings, and prepared detailed reports for Nestlé. By means of their access to internal information they had access to all research, sources, and contacts in Switzerland and abroad.

When Nestlé president Brabeck was asked by the Swiss human-rights organization Multiwatch at the 2010 annual general meeting what Nestlé had done to stop this spying, and whether he could guarantee that Nestlé was no longer engaging in such activities, he answered evasively that surveillance and infiltration were not Nestlé policy. The year before, he justified Nestlé’s activities by the absurd accusation that ATTAC was a violent organization, and Nestlé needed to protect itself.

We are indignant about this infringement of freedom of organization and speech and of the right to privacy by Nestlé in Switzerland. We would like to know whether Nestlé is continuing its surveillance of organizations that defend human rights. If so: what organizations are involved? What is Nestlé’s justification for these activities, and what is your intention in doing so?

Thank you in advance for your views on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Nestlé, the world’s largest food-industry corporation, can pay for armies of lawyers, drag out trials in Switzerland, and blackmail the media with advertising boycotts. ATTAC Switzerland is a grass-roots democratic movement that lives on the commitment of volunteers, and has little money to spend. In the trial against Nestlé, ATTAC depends on support – both moral and financial.

Please send a message of solidarity to Attac Switzerland!


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