Community, Community Building, Community Development, Social Justice

Petitions and Boycotts: Why I Am Boycotting Nestlé Products

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The transformation of the world from its current state to a place where every individual can participate actively in their personal material and spiritual development as well as contribute to the progress of humankind as a whole is going to need the upending of a lot of things—and I mean, a lot.  This means that we need to do more than just sit around and point at the things that are wrong, or to superficially address various issues through petitions and boycotts.

However, I also think that there is a place for petitions and boycotts—as long as they do not count for the bulk of our contributions to social transformation.  I personally have and will continue to sign petitions and boycott specific things.  The latest to have made the list of things I boycott is Nestlé, in an attempt to contribute to chipping away at unethical corporate practices.  As a number of readers have asked me about this decision of mine, I decided to share some of my reasons for boycotting Nestlé in the hopes of engaging more of you in this important and interesting discussion.

Most, If Not All Companies Have Unethical Practices, But Nestlé’s Are Too Blatant To Ignore

The level and scope of Nestlé’s unethical practices are too blatant to ignore: from the CEO’s belief that water isn’t a human right and should be privatized—leading to Nestlé’s draining of water reserves even during droughts (which is happening in Ontario as well)—to infant formula and other foods holding dangerous levels of various toxins, there is a lot of scandal surrounding this company.  (You can test your anger management by watching the documentary Bottled Life!)

Granted, there are a lot of companies that are not as big and therefore not as investigated as Nestlé; and granted, as an individual, Nestlé’s unethical practices came to my attention through organizations such as SumofUs.  And granted, we have to be careful not to demonise anyone or any company.

However, I can’t sit by idly and do nothing at all.  By choosing to boycott at least one company, I am taking a small step into become a more conscious and conscientious consumer.  And a full transformation needs to start somewhere, even if that place is extremely small.

A Related Challenge: Finding Alternative Products

One of the benefits of engaging in this conscious boycott of Nestlé is that I have had to find viable, ethical alternatives to the products I am not allowing myself to buy anymore.  It’s tough, because Nestlé and its subsidiaries are everywhere!  But it has really helped broaden my perspective on a lot of associated issues and topics.

I have also had to reconsider my budget, ethical products being slightly more expensive than unethical ones.  This has allowed me to realise just how much I have been buying that I don’t actually need, contributing to building a simpler lifestyle.

It Gives Some Power To The People

Not that it has been or continues to be easy.  I am still at the beginning of this process and discover daily things that are contradictory between my beliefs and my purchases.  But it also has been an empowering process, as an increasing number of viable, ethical alternatives are available to me—and thus, to you.

The funny thing about empowerment is that it brings a significant amount of light even in the darkest of places.  And I can tell you that it is really nice, in the face of all the darkness in the world, to know that there is a little something that I am doing all the time to help bring light back into the world.

It Creates The Opportunity To Hold Important Conversations

Although I wish I had all the answers, I really don’t.  And neither does anyone else, for that matter.  What we do have are pieces of the answer—each one of us holds a little something that, when put together, will reveal the greater picture.  By engaging in concrete action, I am building a life that is different from that of those around me; this inspires questions which lead to some amazing, eye-opening conversations, that help all of us inch slowly but inexorably towards the truth.

And that, my friends, is very exciting indeed.

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