Nestle: The era of water at throwaway prices is coming to an end


"Access to water is a human right …
Nestle: we do not care about your problems "

Last week in the news from time to time began to slip titles like «Nestle wants to privatize the world's water 'cause the place seething in the blogosphere and almost constantly — bewilderment.

Meanwhile, the very source of the scandalous statement, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe periodically voiced this idea since 2005. He calls the water only as "the new gold", argues that "the era of water at throwaway prices is coming to an end" and calls for the establishment of "adequate" (read — not "junk") price for it.

However, this level of candor, he allows himself to business magazines such as Foreign Policy, Guardian or the Wall Street Journal. For a more general public, subject to the influence of "irresponsible" (according to Mr. Brabeck) ecologists, stashed more robust discussion in which all the same is not explained in terms of personal gain, and the state of the environment, "conservation of resources" concern "responsible business "about the poor who do not receive water from waste water management, and other such good intentions.


Nestle water

The devil, however, as usual, in the details (1): in 2010, all the same, Mr. Brabeck explained his special attention to the water … care about the shareholders. Like, shareholders should be confident in the company's stability and sustainability of the company Nestle, according to Mr. Brabeck, is based largely on the water. And the public ownership of the water stability of this, of course, a serious obstacle. Such is the simple arithmetic.


Confused by something else: why now all of a sudden so noisy "played" quite expected the management's statement Nestle — despite the fact that nothing in principle no different statements previously reacted mostly just "irresponsible" environmentalists? One can not help the thought creeps in that this time the media resources were involved, "friendly» Nestle, and raised the noise is needed to Mr Brabeck and Co. Why would all of a sudden?


Brands related to Nestle (click on image to view)

Of course, Nestle is not the first time provided in scandalous situations — and then fading, the inflaming "boycott Nestle" (2), declared by the Action Group Against the Spread of infant formula in 1977, evidence of this. But with ratuyuschimi for breastfeeding is clear — there will not be a truce — worse than that in Hong Kong is in a large consignment melamine (3) find, in Côte d'Ivoire is found child labor in cocoa harvesting, the plant in Pakistan Nestle « accidentally "drop the water horizon so that the wells dry up in the next village — and" socially responsible company "would rush to the rescue, with one hand clutching a five-liter bottle with the" new gold "- for adults, and another handful of plastic Batman — for children (4 ). But such is the size of the company, it is always possible to justify the inability to trace who is there in Africa cocoa collects, so that there is a deep aquifer in Pakistan …

But why look for trouble with such outrageous statements?


It turns out that everything is quite logical. Apparently, in the leadership of Nestle came to the conclusion that it is time to force the issue. Therefore, it was brought to light an example of Chile, where the privatization of water resources was another Pinochet (5). Undaunted, media sources reported that the water networks in the de Chile now does not interfere with the state, which can direct their time and energy on more important tasks. And then, next door, is told with tears of emotion that the poor are no longer able to buy water in sufficient quantities, the state pays a subsidy for this unfortunate necessity. And at the same time tells you that the program Solidario, on which the government paid 25% to 75% of water consumption per household (the rate of 20 cubic meters per month), in force since 2012. Yet somehow it back in 2010 benefited 702,000 families (with a total national population of about 16 million figure is amazing).


Posters documentary Flow, telling about the global water crisis

And it is no accident Chilean topic arises. Judging from the data in the English wiki Mr. Brabeck climbing up the hierarchical ladder Nestle happened because he was in the right place at the right time. In the biography of him noted that since 1970, almost to the middle of the 1980s he worked as a representative of the company in Chile. For the most compassionate embarks on a tear about the "serious business days Allende" — and modestly silent about the time of Pinochet, when 15,000 of the privatized enterprises, at least 11,000 were privatized illegally. We can assume that Nestle did not stay away from the Pinochet "redistribution of property," and that the results of this activity, "young professional" Brabeck in 1987 became vice president of the company.

By the way, the company has repeatedly said Nestle's strategic importance for yourself like this with a small population of the South American country. As Chile has its own sales market is small, this country is very convenient to use as a base for commercial expansion into neighboring states.

At the same time, however, the Chilean theme does not end there. Apparently, the origins of this demarche should look the same — in Chile. The fact that not all Chileans are so conscious that they consider calm shareholders Nestle meaning of their lives. During last year's abnormal (and third row) drought senator of the Democratic Party (though he also called, and the Speaker of the Parliament, and the President of the Senate), Guido Girardi sounded almost the same idea that Mr. Brabeck: "With the growth of the world population reduction of water supplies already do not stop, the water becomes the most sought-after and precious resource that should lead to problems in the future. "


frame from the documentary Flow
"Water — for people, not for profit"

The findings, however, Girardi Brabekovskim opposite: in his view, water is an urgent need to make public a national treasure and one of the inalienable rights of the person, and use it as a commodity must end. Filed a bill to nationalize them the necessary resources, including and urgent amendments to the Water Code, grants the state the right and the obligation to establish the regions of the country, which can not be private ownership of water.

So, apparently, the last chapter demarche Nestle — just echoes real hard economic battle is now unfolding in South America, but concerning the whole world.

PS But something silly urge to join the boycott of products Nestle — give up, and that reasonable people do not tend to trust these brands too. More fun and actionable could be the cry of "Feed the hungry Nestle!», Followed by Nestle sent to the address of their own products "to feed." But that's another topic …

For a serious immersion in the subject can be viewed two documentaries: Flow and Blue gold: world water wars (English)


1. "The devil is in the details" — French proverb whose meaning lies in the fact that the outcome of any case depends on the specific details.

2. The provisions of conscious marketing strategy of Nestle were first published in the magazine New Internationalist (Modern Internationalist) in 1973 and in the brochure titled Baby Killer («killer of children"), published by the British non-governmental organization "The war against want" in 1974. Nestle tried to sue the publisher of translation into German (initiative group of developing countries) for libel. After two years of litigation, the court ruled in favor of Nestle, because "from the point of view of criminal law" corporation can not be held responsible for the death of children. However, since the accused was only imposed a fine of 300 Swiss francs, the judge Jürg Sollberger said that Nestle «must fundamentally change their method of advertising," Time magazine declared it a "moral victory" for the defendants.

For more information:

Sethi, S. Prakash (1994). Multinational Corporations and the Impact of Public Advocacy on Corporate Strategy: Nestle and the Infant Formula Controversy. Journal of International Business Studies

"Milk mixtures are in" batch »» Time Magazine, July 12, 1976

3. Melamine — a chemical that is widely used in non-food industries, for example in the manufacture of dyes, or herbicides. A property of this chemical artificially increase the concentration of the protein contained in the product, prompted its use in the manufacture of food products. On the basis of these materials RIA news, it was revealed for the first time the use of melamine in food in China — in 2008. The reason for the detection of hazardous chemical substances were the mass poisoning (sometimes fatal) children. Later, when the tests were performed for the presence of melanin in powdered infant formula in the United States, it was revealed that melanin is used in the main manufacturers of infant formula country.

Details: 90 Percent of US Infant Formula May Be Contaminated with Melamine; FDA Abruptly Declares Chemical Safe for babies

4. The incident with the disappearance of public water in the village Bhati-Dilwali led to the fact that its inhabitants are now forced to buy water from the same company Nestle has been made only by action in the form of toys for children.

5. Augusto Pinochet — soldier and statesman, who served as president and chief of the armed forces of Chile from 1974 to 1990 and established for that period dictatorship in the country.

6. Salvador Allende — President of Chile from 1970 to 1973, who was killed during a military coup, after which the country was headed by Pinochet.

Alexander Soroka

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