If you read my angry rant last week about Nestlé‘s chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe and his rather obscene ideas about putting a price tag on water (but don’t you dare call that privatization, he says!) then you’ll be horrified by a recent post at Hang the Bankers that does the math on the sorts of profits Nestlé is currently making off their exploitation of the Third World’s H2O.
All over the world, Nestle has been draining the water from financially beleaguered regions.
The technique Nestlé uses is this: Find an economically weak region, buy up the land surrounding the water source and grease the political wheels by making a proposal the residents can’t possibly refuse. How can depressed regions resist new jobs and added local revenue? But, the revenue generated by these regions natural resource by and large goes to a corporation headquartered in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. And if the financial incentives aren’t enough to assuage concerned citizens, Nestlé’s more than happy to battle it out in court.
Just so that’s clear, they find places that are already struggling with poverty. Then, they make the poverty worse by damaging watersheds and wetlands, siphoning off hundreds of millions of gallons annually, and leaving the fields barren and dry. This isn’t something that is just happening in Third World countries. They’ve done it in our own backyards. Here are just a few examples of communities pillaged by Nestle: Denver, CO; Sacramento, CA; Fryeburg, ME; Mecosta, MI.
Hang The Bankers then goes on to explain exactly what happens when the corporate thugs at Nestlé get their mitts on a community’s water resources. This is so infuriating that I’ll warn you not to read any further if you’re worried about getting bummed out.
The small Canadian town of Hillsburgh, Ontario is Nestlé’s most recent target. Nestlé has permission to take 1.1 million liters of water per day from Hillsburgh’s aquifers, even during droughts. Initially, the province had set limits on the company’s ability to withdraw that amount during drought conditions, but after “negotiations” the Ministry of the Environment capitulated to Nestlé’s demands that their water pumping not be restricted. Meanwhile, residents of the town are held to usage restrictions, as their grass turns brown and their gardens die.
The Council of Canadians, along with several regional conservation groups, has appealed the ministry’s decision to an environmental tribunal.
“We find it very troubling that the Ontario government has settled with Nestlé,” Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow said in a statement. “Ontario must prioritize communities’ right to water above a private company’s thirst for profit. Our government must think about water availability for our grand children, great grand children and beyond.”
Already on the verge of puking? Keep on reading for a really deep purge!
“Under its current permit, Nestlé pays $3.71 for every million litres of water it pumps from the local watershed, which it then packages in single-use plastic bottles and sells back to the public for as much as $2 million,” the Council says.
But a Nestlé spokesman told The Huffington Post Canada that the drought restrictions were only put in place due to an “administrative misunderstanding,” and mandatory rules were never the intent. (source)
ONE MORE TIME: Nestlé pays $3.71 for every million litres of water it pumps from the local watershed, which it then packages in single-use plastic bottles and sells back to the public for as much as $2 million
(But then they went and ruined it with a bunch of Agenda 21 bullshit… It’s an interesting article otherwise and contains a long list of Nestlé products that you may wish to avoid in the future, but my “endorsement” ends when Agenda 21 stuff begins. As if there needs to be a conspiracy theory for something THIS outrageously offensive (and obvious)??? Give me a break…)