on media, technology & digital culture
Nestlé has always had a bad rep. From buying cocoa leaves from exploited workers to depleting and damaging entire areas for the production of mineral water. I could go on about every single bad decision they ever made, but thankfully, somebody did that already. Yet we continue to buy their products.
When I was a kid, I remember reading a satirical book about how people would eventually start taxing air. I was twelve, so I just vaguely understood what the author was talking about. Plus, the premise was so outrageous I just chuckled and moved on. What I learned as I was growing up is that every time you chuckle, someone out there that takes it seriously.
Nestlé’s Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe supposedly released a statement saying water should be privatized. Hell, I couldn’t think of a better moment to say that. In a world where water is already sold in plastic bottles, we might as well buy it in 25-liter plastic canisters in case we want to take a shower. Being in the top 1% of people who have more money then the rest of humanity combined can make you see things differently, to put it mildly. The guy is a douchebag, alright? We all OK on this one?
But that’s not what he really said. What he really said was that he believes the 5 liters we need for hydration and 25 liters we need for showering is a basic human right and should be accessible to everyone. However, the other 98.5 % of water that is being misused should not be accessible to everyone as it’s not a basic human right to wash your car, fill your swimming pool and water your golf course. And he’s right; we’re misusing the shit out of this holy liquid.
Still, we, the public, love ulterior motives. “What a Willy Wanker. I hope he drowns. We don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn.” are just some of the accusations you can find in various comment sections on the Internet. With a backlog of demolishing human rights, you can’t help but feel that the end goal of this company is to start charging tap water or, at the very least, limit tap water so you could buy more bottled water. It may sound unreal but with enough time and lobbying money, anything can happen.
Usually, this headline would mark a rapid downfall in the sales of Nestlé’s products. That would be possible if it wasn’t for one thing – they own more than 8,000 brands. You don’t know if you’re buying Nestlé or not these days. However, if the hellish scenario does come to fruition, I suggest the new water slogan to be: pay up before you dry up.