Nestlé found liable over spying on NGO

January 30, 2013 | Financial Times

By James Shotter in Zürich and Louise Lucas in London

Link to original article.

Nestlé found liable over spying on NGO

By James Shotter in Zürich and Louise Lucas in London

Nestlé, whose clashes with activists over sales of baby milk formula in Africa led to

widespread boycotts in the 1980s, has been found liable in a civil case over the secret infiltration of a non-governmental organisation.

A Swiss court last week ordered Nestlé and the Swiss security company Securitas AG to pay compensation following revelations that an infiltrator had attended “workgroup” meetings of Attac, an anti-globalisation group. Some of those meetings took place at members’ homes.

The world’s biggest food company has been at pains

to repair relations with NGOs since the milk formula debacle, which led to new health regulations on its marketing.

The rise of social media and rapid dissemination of any wrongdoings – and a new generation of more socially conscious consumers – has further encouraged the maker of KitKats and its peers to address issues ranging from child labour on cocoa farms to saving water. Such initiatives are often carried out in partnership with NGOs.

But even though Nestlé has been fostering closer ties with its one-time foes, it has now been found to have been involved in the monitoring of activist activities.

The long-running legal saga began in 2008 when Attac filed criminal and civil allegations against Nestlé and Securitas after Swiss TV alleged that an Attac workgroup in the canton of Vaud had been infiltrated by a Securitas employee on behalf of Nestlé in 2003.The criminal case was dropped in 2009, but the civil case continued, and Jean-Luc Genillard, president of the civil court in Lausanne, has now ordered Nestlé and Securitas to pay compensation of SFr3,000 per claimant.

A spokesman for Nestlé said the company would like “to reiterate that incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles”, adding that it noted the judge’s decision “with disappointment”.

However, he said it was too early to say what, if any actions, Nestlé would take next. “We are unable to make any specific comments before the judge’s reasoning is released. If it turns out that a Nestlé employee has acted negligently, we will take appropriate action,” he said.

Securitas said it had stopped this sort of activity eight years ago and that the judge’s ruling had no impact on its current operations. The group said it was now waiting for the judge’s written reasoning.

Attac said it was “very satisfied” that the civil court had condemned Nestlé’s and Securitas’s actions. “Nevertheless, we’d like to point out that we are continuing to critically observe the worldwide activities of multinational corporations.”

Upcoming East-West Corridor Events

Updated February 10, 2013

February 21 ~ Hancock County Democratic Committee, 7-8pm, Ellsworth City Hall, FMI Contact Kent Price 469-1903 
Chris Buchanan, coordinator for Stop the [East-West] Corridor, and State Representative
Katherine Cassidy (D-Lubec) at 7 pm on Thursday, February 21, will address
the controversial East-West Highway currently planned for the Calais area to
Coburn Gore. The presentation will be the feature segment of the Hancock
County Democratic Committee’s regular monthly meeting, in Ellsworth City
Hall’s third-floor auditorium.

Chris Buchanan, who is working with many groups opposing the toll road, will
provide an overview of the proposal. Rep. Cassidy is a co-sponsor of the
bill to defund the $300,000 economic feasibility study that had been
authorized by the previous Maine legislature.

March 2 ~ Presentation at Dexter School, 1-4pm
Presentation for the local community being organized by STEWC members.  Confirmed details TBA soon!
March 9 ~ Outreach / Informational Meeting
STEWC meeting focused on sharing information and reaching out to more people, being organized by Sidney Mitchell.  Confirmed details TBA shortly.
 
March 13 ~ The East-West Corridor, Why Not? A Panel Presentation and Community Conversation by STEWC 
5:30 – 7:30pm Washington County Community College Lecture Hall, Calais
Panelists include:
Gene Ripley – jobs and economic impacts
Maria Girouard – water, natural resources, and our relationship with the Earth
Paul Schroeder – transparency, sovereignty / local control, eminent domain, Public-Private-Partnerships
Chris Buchanan – introductory overview, moderation
Jane Crosen is working with the map team to provide high quality maps of potential routes.
March 27 ~ The East-West Corridor, Why Not? A Panel Presentation and Community Conversation by STEWC 
5:30 – 7:30pm University of Maine at Machias, Lecture Hall in the Science Building, Machias
Panelists include:
Gene Ripley – jobs and economic impacts
Maria Girouard – water, natural resources, connecting the dots, and our relationship with the Earth
Paul Schroeder – transparency, sovereignty / local control, eminent domain, Public-Private-Partnerships
Chris Buchanan – introductory overview, moderation
Jane Crosen is working with the map team to provide high quality maps of potential routes.
March 30 ~ next STEWC coalition meeting, Daybreak Cafe, Old Town, exact time TBA but expect it to be in the morning
 
April 7 ~ Alliance for the Common Good Teach-In, UMO
More details TBA.  The theme is “Budget For All . . . Why not?” After keynote speakers there will be a panel of five people talking about topics of concern. Finally there will be two sessions of workshops with 5 workshops in each session.  The proposed LPG Tank in Searsport and the E/W Corridor will be the focus of one of the workshops. The Alliance has three slogans, one of which is a Develop a Maine Economy that protects Maine’s Environment. In this 40 minute workshop we will provide context and information for the group on how people can become involved in our campaigns.  Maximum participation is encouraged.
April 11 ~ AN EAST-WEST CORRIDOR THROUGH MAINE? PERSPECTIVES FROM THE PEOPLE
part of the Socialist and Marxist Studies Series (controversy series) this Spring on Thursdays, 12:30-1:45pm in the Bangor Room, Memorial Union, UMO
 
John Banks is a Penobscot tribal member and has served as Director of its
Natural Resources for 32 years.
Chris Buchanan is Maine Coordinator for Defending Water for Life and
statewide Coordinator for Stop the East-West Corridor (STEWC).
Gene Ripley is a farmer and entrepreneur whose Dover-Foxcroft farm may lie
in the path of the proposed East-West corridor.

Eastern best guesses 1-30-13

eastern route options 1-30-13

Hot pink is Washington county line
Yellow is Sunrise area, a group of many small segments of preserves etc
Red is the Power line ROW edges to Canada
The Greens are preserves provided by standard Google Earth, however more are displayed with the Maine overlays from the website
light pink is Passamaquaddy lands
the blue is Penobscot lands
both as per newest atlas
Light blue is the Machias Watershed main tributaries
cream colored is the Farm trust land
These are better separated with the State overlay. Not part of this snapshot.
Dark purple is a conceptual route south of the Moosehorn preserve (near ground level view)
The lighter purple below it is a more northern conceptual route
The eastern pink is a route from Eastport up to these two conceptual routes for a connection
The lime green is conceptual routes based on the Perry statement of which the most northern only allows about 1200 feet directly though Pembroke, the two southern are Cainbro dream routes of more bridges.