Thursday, October 3, 2013

More On Nestlé's Ways
Having researched and written about the ingredients that go into a popular powdered beverage, Nesquik, I inadvertently enlisted myself into an already sizable army of Nestlé's antagonists all around the globe. Following my husband's suggestion to look into the company's views on global water shortage, I uncovered disturbing details of Nestlé's apparent ploy to control much of the world's water reserves and food supply.

It all began with Paul Bulcke's, the existing CEO's, speech at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, in April of 2012, where he emphasized that if something isn't given value, people tend to waste it, referring to current water overuse. Almost a year later, at the City Food Lecture in London, UK, Bulcke reiterated the urgency of dealing with the coming water and food shortage. In his speech, he cited decreasing water supply, rapidly growing world population and, of course, the water overuse in modern agriculture. 

Going through the lecture transcript, I pictured a selfless humanitarian supremely concerned with every fly's well-being... But is it who Paul Bulcke, the representative of the world's largest food and beverage company, really is? Not by a long shot, critics say. One of them, GMO Inside, reveals Nestlé's monetary contribution to oppose Proposition 37*: $1,461,600. Indeed, nutrition, health and wellness are to be achieved with GMO-laden processed foods. In comparison, PepsiCo contributed $2,485,400 to the same cause, hoping to avoid accountability before its clueless customers**. And what about resolving that water shortage? 

According to Bulcke, there is a need to build partnerships, at the right level, with truly relevant stakeholders. One of such partnerships at the right level was the one he attempted to create with the province of Ontario, asking for an exemption from water withdrawal limitations during times of drought. Thanks to swift action by the Council of Canadians and the Wellington Water Watchers, the motion was appealed and is now under review by the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal. One can only speculate, however, how many more similar liaisons are in the works. According to Hoovers, Nestlé operates in 194 countries with at least 43 per cent of sales coming from the developing world, where democratic ways are hard to come by and building strategic partnerships is a smooth business.

*Proposition 37 suggested introducing mandatory labeling for all foods containing GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in the state of California. The proposition was defeated, thanks to the food giants' donations to the opposition, as well as apparent corruption at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tasked with reviewing scientific evidence related to food technologies, including genetically modified foods.

**PepsiCo was also received the Stockholm Industry Water Award in 2012 in recognition of its innovative and outstanding water stewardship initiatives, all the while wasting it on empty-calorie beverages and GMO agriculture. 

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