The Illusion of Choice and the evils of Nestlé

I came across this info-graphic today and it got me thinking about the the power of these big brands. I was reminded of the scandal surrounding Nestlé breast milk. The boycott that followed was and is ineffective against such a powerhouse company. Nestlé can freely get away with marketing baby formula to sub Sahara Africans where access to clean water is often impossible.

Over 1 billion dollars have been spent on formula by African mothers with perfectly good, sterile breast milk. A huge amount of money on something they simply didn't need. But Nestlé had spun a clever marketing strategy first telling mothers the powdered formula was better then giving them free samples. When the babies were on the free sample the mothers would often stop lactating and be forced to start buying the powder. (This is the same tactic used by drug dealers). In areas where sanitary water was an issue the powdered formula would be mixed with what ever water was available and often diluted to make it last longer. Unsurprisingly this resulted in malnutrition, illness and death amongst these helpless babies. All the while Nestlé is getting richer and richer.

In 1997 UNICEF stated:-

"Marketing practices that undermine breast feeding are potentially hazardous
wherever they are pursued: in the developing world, WHO estimates that
some 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately
breast fed. These facts are not in dispute"

Even in Europe where sanitary water is not an issue it's commonly believed that many allergy and immunity issues suffered by children could have been prevented with natural breast milk. Yet the marketing machine powers on invading our homes, magazines, radios and streets telling us to buy, buy and keep buying their products. Even if their products are literally killing us.

That's just Nestlé.

KFC recently had to pay out $8 million to a family after salmonella contaminated chicken resulted in their young daughter becoming severely brain damaged. Unilever were happy to close their Lebanese production operation and ignore local workers rights leaving workers, jobless and unpaid without warning. Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $70 million in civil and criminal fines after admitting bribing European doctors to prescribe their products to patients, whether they needed them or not. This is just the stuff we know about.

Boycott them?

Not likely... The products are unavoidable and when you think you're making a moral purchase from an ethical company it's probably just a marketing gimmick!

Don't get me started on The Body Shop!