Beware the chocolate men



I think it’s pretty silly to get caught up with politics.  News outlets can’t help presenting their opinions as facts and the truth becomes muddled through the way it’s framed.  But I recently got swept up in an issue that was both divisive and hit close to home.

I read a quote from Nestle’s Chairman Peter Brabeck, in which he said “water should not be considered a human right”.

Now I don’t think the topic of human rights is an issue that preoccupies the average person.  If my generalization’s correct, people are usually much more concerned with the immediate – like making sure they have enough for next months rent or figuring out what they are going to eat for dinner that night.  Unfortunately, the normal stresses of life are enough to keep us preoccupied  from thinking about larger more difficult to define problems.

I would guess that if you asked any person you know whether access to water should be protected as a human right – I would assume everyone would agree that it should be.  It’s understandably quite crazy to hear then, that the chairman of one of the biggest food companies in the world would hold such an inhumane opinion.

Well, that was enough to light a fire under my butt, and motivate me to do something more than just talk about it.

But I did some research.  And I found out that the origin of the quote was from a 2005 documentary called “We Feed the World”.  There is a clip where Brabeck gives some cold numbers about Nestle. . .earning more than $65 Billion annually, Nestle directly employs 275,000 people making them the 27th largest company in the world. . . .A reserved but apparent sense of pride is present in Brabeck’s tone.  He is the captain of one of the largest ships the planet knows. Pride would rightly be present regardless of whom would play the part.

In that interview – he presents Nestle as a food stuffs company.  When it comes to water – Brabeck wants to consider it just another food stuff – on the same plane as a chocolate bar.   Although essential and absolutely required for life to exist – water should be treated as a commodity to be bought and sold.

I want to stop for a moment to say that his perspective is entirely predictable.  Chairmen and CEO’s have certain responsibilities, and they aren’t always aligned with the interests of the greater whole.  CEO’s have to make decisions that will profit shareholders – not humanity.  And unfortunately the words business and ethics often behave as antonyms.  If Nestle could sell all our water, he would love to – for he knows that if he isn’t exploiting our human needs another company surely will.

In 2015, there were droughts in many parts of the world – including the Pacific west coast.  And while there were water restrictions in many places throughout California and B.C. – Nestle had sucked entire rivers dry just so they could sell our own resources back to us.

In 2016 Nestle plans on coming to Hope, B.C. where there are many aquifers they plan on extracting.  Somehow,  Nestle will pay the Canadian government  $2.25 for every million liters they take.  Canada is a resource rich country but it hurts to see how poorly managed we are.

It’s with these feelings that I felt motivated to make a GIF.  Something to portray Nestle the company, as I saw them.  Not necessarily evil, but stupid and short sighted.  Their interests are singular – to the shareholder and as a business they are not concerned with human rights but profit.

I hope you share this article, please post the GIF around and please don’t support Nestle in any way.  If we stop buying their products – we might get them to start paying attention to things beyond profit.