Category Archives: Nestle Worldwide

Nestle Waters of North America Garnering Unwelcome International Attention, Ducks Questions

Nestle Waters of North America seems to be in the international spotlight right now, and they don’t seem to be all that happy about it.

A Paris-based TV crew is in McCloud right now doing a bottled water story, talking to supporters and those who oppose Nestle’s proposed water bottling plant.

Given Nestle’s history in McCloud (secret meetings, divisive statements designed to factionalize the area, etc), even some of Nestle’s supporters are questioning the Swiss multinational’s intent to build here, and international attention probably won’t help.

McCloud – like Fryeburg – has become something of a public relations albatross around Nestle’s neck, and only the prospect of relatively obscene profits can be keeping the company here.

Back in Maine, a Swiss-based film crew made the rounds, but according to local activist Jamilla El-Shafei, Nestle operative Mark DuBois wanted nothing to do with the film crew:

This morning members from SAVE OUR WATER attended a Wells Chamber of Commerce event at 7:00 am called EGGS & ISSUES. This is a monthly breakfast meeting of local business people when the Chamber invites a guest to speak about a pertinent issue.  Today’s presenter was Mark DuBois, the resource manager from  the Nestle label Poland Springs. The tradition at the meeting is to have Q&A after the presentation.

Dubois gave his power point presentation and after his dog& pony show, he said that he would be happy to take questions “outside.” Clearly, with two film crews present he did not want to have to answer any difficult questions. So I went up to him to ask a question  as the camera man followed, and he started moving away from me. Corey Hascall, his pr person (fyi she was my face book friend until I learned that she worked for Nestle’s PR firm–very unethical), blocked the camera with her hands. She positioned herself between DuBois and me.

Then when I got close to DuBois she physically shoved me! She is a big woman and it was quite a push back! It was caught of film by the Swiss Film crew who is in the country making a film about Nestle. However, I managed to follow DuBois out of the door and the film crew followed me. DuBois then walked very fast to his gas sucking, big truck.

Nestle’s tactics remind me of the trend in national political PR, where politicians avoid press conferences, preferring instead to speak in settings where the message can be broadcast without question, and the question that are asked are invariably docile.

Does Nestle Encourage Employees to Anonymously Attack Opponents on the Internet?

My recent post about the declining bottled water market drew the “interesting” response quoted below, which largely parroted Nestle’s pro-bottled water talking points.

The somewhat one-sided (and marginally abusive) language caused me to trace the IP address (for the first time), which showed the poster – hiding behind a Yahoo.com email address – was actually commenting from a PerrierGroup.com IP (65.200.16.246 = ustems91.perriergroup.com. admin.perriergroup.com.)

In case you didn’t realize it, Perrier Group is now Nestle Waters N.A., which forces us to ask the obvious: does Nestle encourage employees or contractors to post comments while hiding their affiliation behind unrelated email addresses?

By gosh, I think I’ll ask them. In fact, the Nestle employees and/or agency folks who monitor the Internet could spare me the trouble of an email by adding a comment to this post clarifying their stance. That would save all of us a lot of time.

Should I look back at the negative comments on this site and see who might be a Nestle shill?

Allegations of Spying = Irony

What’s ironic is the original post that drew the comment mentioned a formerly hard-to-believe allegation about Nestle’s hiring of a security company to infiltrate a Swiss organization opposed to the company, collecting confidential data on activists and forwarding it to the corporate folks.

Not so hard to believe now.

You can see the original post here, though I’ve quoted the comments below:

Ashley Brown { 04.09.09 at 3:54 pm }

I think this is a bunch of crap. Neslte Waters keeps people healty,and above any other bottles industry, soda,juice,even beer, uses less water than any other company, and they are the only beverage industry to make stries with environmentally friendly plastic. So why not bash on the people who really use plastic and water sources. Did you know it takes 3 gallons of water to make one gallon of beer? Also 10 gallons of water to make one tire for a truck? So you wanna talk water maybe you should know alll the facts not just “Nestle”. Wow, unreal.

TC { 04.10.09 at 9:39 am }

Ashley: You’ve successfully parroted Nestle’s talking points. Which is hardly surprising since your IP address traces back to the Perrier Group, which holds a security certificate from “nas.nestle-watersna.com”

This suggests you are a Nestle employee or contractor trying to hide that fact behind a Yahoo.com email address.

And of course, what you’re ignoring is the simple fact that soda, juice and beer don’t pour out of your tap like water does, so bottling it (in plastic bottles which will be with us for several hundred years), transporting it, and then selling it at higher-than gasoline prices defies logic. And in fact, a declining bottled water market is simply a reaction.

For that matter, you don’t comment on the legal bullying or ethics of Nestle, who apparently were involved in a spying caper? (Suddenly, that’s more believable than ever). That earns an “unreal” from us.

More Fun With Nestle as it happens.

UK Government Report Predicts Up To 80% Reduction in River Flows by Mid-Century

Everyone who believes that selling water to a bottling company like Nestle Waters of North America right now isn’t a bad idea, take a gander at this report from the UK (via WaterSISWEB) – which suggests rivers could suffer 80% reductions in mid-summer flows by mid-century:

Rivers during the summer could have up to 80 per cent less water in them by the middle of this century, leaving the country facing widespread drought, according to a new government report to be published this week.

Think your water resources are secure even in the face of climate change? Think again:

Officials said they were keen to avoid repeating the mistakes that have been made in other countries such as Australia, where they are already suffering severe drought due to rising temperatures blamed on climate change.

By combining detailed modelling of summer and winter rainfall – using predictions taken from the widely recognised Hadley Centre’s Global Circulation Models – with geological data, the agency has produced maps that reveal the full extent of the impact that climate change could have on the country’s waterways.

“We were shocked at how fundamental the shift in our water base will be,” said Trevor Bishop, head of water resource policy for the Environment Agency.

“It will effect both the way we manage our water supplies and have a significant impact on the habitats and species that we have come to accept here in the UK.

As I noted in my recent radio interview, few rural towns are codifying adaptive management techniques into their water deals. And as we learned from Mecosta County – where Nestle’s pumping dried up wetlands – Nestle Water isn’t all that interested in stopping the pumps once the profits start flowing (despite all the resource-friendly rhetoric).

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Bottled Water Industry Aggressively Reacts to Declining Sales With Legal Assault, Lobbying… Spying?

With bottled water sales falling (fast) worldwide, the bottled water industry is reacting, though none more actively than Nestle Waters of North America.

A lengthy article written by the Polaris Institute outlines the industry’s response, which range from increased advertising, PR/lobbying onslaughts, attacks on the quality of public water and legal bullying (yes, even spying).

We documented the interview where Nestle’s CEO Kim Jeffries finally did what the bottled water industry won’t admit it does; cast doubt on the quality of public water supplies, playing the “Fear” card.

What to see what else is happening?

Bottled Water Industy Faces Downward Spiral:

These are desperate times indeed for bottled water companies. Some industry analysts are already predicting the sell off of bottled water assets by Groupe Danone while Nestlé has publicly announced that it is slashing investment in their bottled water brands. However, these difficult times do not mean that these companies are giving up. On the contrary, in the case of Nestlé the company is resorting to facing the bottled water backlash head on through advertising and other, more aggressive means.

To deal with this well organized backlash Nestlé Waters North America has not resorted to the ‘ethical marketing’ angle, instead it has ‘gone negative’ by disparaging tap water, using television ads and newspaper advertisements, threatening lawsuits, aggressively lobbying city councillors and employing public relations and communications firms to push their narrative into the media. Looking at Nestlé’s track record will show that this company and the industry in general, is desperately trying to hold onto their bottled water customers.

We invite you to read the entire article, which includes an engrossing reference to Nestle’s apparent hiring of a “security” firm to infiltrate a Swiss-based group of activists.

Not to be missed.

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Nestle Sues Small Company (Wysong) for Pet Food Innovation Nestle Didn’t Develop

I mentioned this in the sidebar before – and it’s not a bottled water issue – but small towns considering getting into bed with Nestle should know what a legal bully the world’s most-boycotted corporation really is:

Nestle Sues Company That Came Up A Product 15 Years Before Nestle Patented It… | Techdirt

Today’s story of patent insanity comes to us courtesy of Wysong, a small natural pet foods company that came up with a method to put probiotics in foods in the early 80s. The company used the technique to sell pet food biscuits that supposedly have certain health benefits.

As its products became more popular, the company saw copycats come into the market, but figured it helped everyone (including the pets), and there was nothing wrong with that.

Then… fifteen years later, Nestle, the owner of Purina, happened to patent the very same process and, a few years later, sued Wysong, demanding royalties all the way back to when it got its patent.

Wysong’s owners responded, pointing out that their product had been on the market since long before Nestle’s patent… to which Nestle responded with a threat to sue Wysong in federal court. Knowing Wysong probably didn’t have the millions of dollars it would take to fight a patent lawsuit, Nestle tried to pressure them to just give in and settle right away.

The company is fighting back (and has been able to stop Nestle from getting an identical patent in Europe thanks to its prior art), but it’s a costly battle.

NOTE: I’ve been busy lately and had little time to add new stories to the site (a problem not shared by Nestle’s legions of fulltime operatives), though plenty has happened in Florida, Maine, and California. In a couple days, I’ll have more time.

More to come…

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Nestle In Trouble Over False Marketing Claims (Again)

Nestle’s inability to talk straight apparently isn’t limited to small rural towns; repeatedly stung for their inappropriate marketing of baby formula in third world countries, they also were forced to admit there was little substance to their claim that a green tea product delivered real weight loss benefits, and were forced to pay a hefty settlement to 27 states:

Coke, Nestle and Beverage Partnership Worldwide have to add disclosures that disclaim the weight loss benefits of the drink, Enviga, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Thursday.

The settlement resolves questionable claims by those companies that their Enviga-brand green tea beverage will burn extra calories and help the drinker lose weight, said Madigan’s office, which forged the settlement with 26 other state attorneys general, including Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and the District of Columbia.

Thus, “weight loss” is now added to the growing number of other somewhat dubious Nestle phrases like “we always protect the resource” and “heck, we’d never sue you.”

Nestle Faces Declining Bottled Water Market, Slashes Capital Spending

Via Reuters, we learn that Nestle’s not only facing a declining market for bottled water, but they’re also cutting back on expenditures (Can we hope that includes new bottling plants?) [Update: Nestle Waters of North America says they aren’t cutting capital spending even if rest of world is]

Nestle (NESN.VX) is cutting investment in bottled water as it suffers from the economic downturn and environmental concerns, but will push the health benefits to help the business rebound, it said on Tuesday.

Chief Financial Officer Jim Singh told an investor roadshow webcast from London that Nestle had cut capital expenditure on its water business by 275 million Swiss francs ($236 million), or 26 percent, in 2008, and would trim further in 2009.

Nestle maintains the decline is temporary and due to the economy; others believe the bottled water backlash is having an effect, and in truth, we’ll have to wait for the economy to rebound to know for sure, though the sheer volume of negative press given the bottled water industry isn’t doing them any favors.

Still, Nestle fired a Terminator-esque “well be back” across the bow, and yes – concluded with their by-now-trademark marginalization of their opponents. First, their desire to grow the “category” some day:

But Chief Executive Paul Bulcke said Nestle was not giving up on the business, noting that its Pure Life brand was still growing strongly and said the industry had to do more to improve its image and advertise the health benefits of water.

“I really believe this is a category that is going to grow because water is the best beverage around,” he said. “We want to be a very healthy alternative to other beverages.”

“Because of the intrinsic arguments for water we strongly believe this is a good category and it’s going to have growth again in the years to come,” he said.

And finally, the Nestle snark:

Environmental groups have campaigned against bottled water, saying resources are wasted in bottling and transporting water which may be no safer or healthier than tap water, while selling for up to a thousand times the price.

But Bulcke said criticism of bottled water was irresponsible because it was pushing consumers towards high-calorie drinks.

“Irresponsible.” Wow.

As if Nestle’s bottled water is all that stands between civilization and high-calorie drinks – all those water taps and refillable bottles notwithstanding.

Nestle Bottled Water Sales in Decline

Nestle’s water bottling operation is finally losing ground. So how secure are all those jobs they dangle in front of rural communities?

After Double-Digit Growth, Sales Fall 1.6%

Worldwide, Nestle reported a “continued slowdown of the bottled water category” and frankly, it’s about time. From the CBC News site:

Sales of bottled water are slipping across North American and Europe, giant food company Nestlé Waters reported Thursday.

Water sales for the company, part of the Nestlé conglomerate, fell 1.6 per cent in 2008, the parent company reported. Profit margins in the bottled water business also fell.

The company, which says it is the leading bottled water company in the world with 72 brands, linked the sales drop to “the continued slowdown of the bottled water category,” while the profit margin fell because of higher costs for plastic and distribution.

But for the anti-bottled-water activists at the Polaris Institute, the drop is proof that their “Inside the Bottle” campaign is working. The institute says its campaign highlights the environmental, health, social and economic impacts of bottled water and calls for the rebuilding and maintenance of public tap water systems.

The Nestlé Waters result shows that consumers are rejecting bottled water, Richard Girard, Polaris research co-ordinator, said in a news release.

“Across the country municipalities, universities, churches, restaurants and unions are kicking out the bottled and turning on the tap.”

Note that we didn’t get a breakout of the specific drop in North American bottled water sales in this story, though I wonder if we’ll see Nestle taking a bigger hit in North America than Europe.

The larger implications; Nestle dangles jobs in front of small rural communities. What happens, we ask, when that market continues to implode?

We’ve already watched 78 workers in Calistoga lose their job over the holidays due to a slowing bottled water market; how much of a decline in the market is needed to start closing other bottled water lines?

Read the entire article at Drop in bottled water sales encourages activists.

Nestle Most-Boycotted Brand in UK? World?

When it comes to posting stories on StopNestleWaters.org, I tend to stick Nestle’s North American water-bottling operations, though this release from OneWorld.net (a UK organization) lays out a long list of charges aimed at Nestle’s worldwide operations (including spying on opposition groups):

Patti Rundall OBE, of Baby Milk Action, which promotes the boycott over the company’s aggressive marketing of baby foods, will participate in a public meeting on 30 January at the Kongresshaus in Zurich (www.kongresshaus.ch) at 18:00 alongside a speaker concerned about Nestlé trade union-busting activities in Colombia and a member of ATTAC Switzerland, which is taking legal action against Nestlé over its infiltration of the group with a spy hired through the private security company, Securitas.

The spy included information gathered on the baby milk campaign in reports sent to a former MI6 officer employed by Nestlé to run the operation.

Wow. Spying? Infitrating ATTAC? I can’t speak to all the charges, but later, the article relates a couple stunning facts:

  • Nestle is the UK’s most-boycotted brand
  • Nestlé won a global internet poll for the world’s ‘least responsible company’ (2005)

You can read the whole post here: World News from OneWorld UK.

To most people, consistency would be a good thing, though in this case, I wouldn’t suggest that consistently bad behavior is doing Nestle any favors.