Nestle – an Ethical Issue or Ten

Okay, I am generally going to avoid name calling. The chocolate companies have been too greedy (like many corporations) and have manipulated market conditions for their own benefit. (Mainly, they encouraged lots of areas to grow cocoa in order to bring the price way, way down. Now those farmers are stuck growing a product that doesn’t bring in much money for them.) Not really nice, but my working assumption, until I see evidence to the contrary, is that the chocolate companies didn’t start child slavery in cocoa farming, that they have limited knowledge of where the beans actually come from, and that mostly they are turning a blind eye to a problem that they fostered.

However.  Nestle, unlike other chocolate manufacturers, operates representative offices and processing plants inside Cote d’ Ivoire, the country that produces 40% of the world’s cocoa, and which has the biggest child slavery problem in cocoa production.

And really, even child slavery in their supply chain is not Nestle’s biggest ethical gap. Many of us remember the boycott of Nestle in the 1980s, when it was learned that Nestle was selling baby formula in developing countries. Some problems with that are: formula has lower nutrition than breast milk so babies get sick and die, and most developing countries have severe shortages of sanitary drinking water, so babies get sick and die. And Nestle doesn’t generally even print the instructions in the countries’ own languages, so people prepare it wrong. Guess what happens then?

The original Nestle boycott ended when the company pledged to change the way they sold their infant formula. But they didn’t keep their promises.

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. So far, I haven’t found estimates of how many child deaths are directly because of Nestle’s sales of infant formula. But over the decades that they have been marketing it, they have shown their callous indifference to human misery.  Please boycott Nestle. Thanks.

Here is a list of Nestle products. Avoid them like the plague.


About esidener

I am a dangerously creative and as yet unpublished author, middle aged former teacher with 3 wonderful kids and a pretty good wife.
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