Come Monday: The Holier Than Thou Edition

The headline on news.com that food giants were joining the war on carbon tax stirred me out of my severe case of Mondayitis.

Business opposition to Julia Gillard’s carbon tax has intensified, with food and grocery producers falling into line with miners to warn the levy could destroy jobs and slash living standards. . . Companies represented included  . . . George Weston Foods, Nestlé Australia [and] Yakult Australia.
Dear oh dear.  Destroy jobs and slash living standards!  As if  they’d all know.  Just look at the track record of these holier than thou companies and tell me if they’re concerned about lost jobs and/or slashed living standards.
George Weston Foods
  • Company has brands that are rated ‘red’ in the Greenpeace True Foods Guide, signifying that brands that may include GE-derived (genetically engineered) ingredients in their products.  This includes brands that either: contain GE derived ingredients and/or, have no clear policy on GE-derived ingredients, and/or: have ignored or refused Greenpeace’s request for information regarding their policies on GE-derived ingredients.

Nestlé

  • Nestlé has been criticised for irresponsible marketing of infant formula in developing countries leading to infant deaths. The original boycott, in place from 1974 to 1984, has been reinstated due to a perceived non-compliance to World Health Organisation Code regulations.
  • They have been criticised for marketing breast milk substitute to women in third world countries despite being banned from this by the World Health Organisation.
  • They have also been criticised for the promotion of bottled water and undermining local control of water supplies in communities by turning water into a profit driven commodity (Source: Corporate Accountability International).
  • For continuing to buy cocoa from the Ivory Coast despite the use of forced child labour in that country (Source: Global Exchange).
  • The International Labour Rights Forum highlights corporations known for violating workers’ freedom of association and right to organise.  Nestlé was selected on the basis of their ties to violence against trade unions and suppression of the universal right to organise.

Yakult Australia

  • Has failed to fulfil its obligations under the National Packaging Covenant, a voluntary agreement to encourage waste minimisation.

Let’s see if an other holier than thou companies came out screaming how much a carbon tax will cut jobs and slash living standards: jobs and standards that they can’t themselves deliver on.

Unless stated, the information has been sourced from Ethical Shopping! 2011.

27 comments on “Come Monday: The Holier Than Thou Edition

  1. Migs, I think it’s more the case that these companies won’t deliver either the jobs and especially the standards.

    Good post.

  2. Ah yes the wonderful ‘ethical’ Nestlé company working against all WHO recommendations – Third World countries where formula is expensive, the water supply contaminated and fuel for heating and sterilising bottles scarce what so they do, instead of supporting Third World women to continue breast feeding via THEIR nutrition they promote breast milk substitutes. Result: malnourishment as mothers water down the formula to make it go further.

  3. Lets add that Woolies owns the most pokies. So if News wants to talk up the slashing of living standards maybe they could ask Wilkie for his opinion on “the fresh food people”.

  4. More on our friends at Nestlé in the ‘apparent’ support of child labour:

    The truth behind the chocolate is anything but sweet. On the Ivory Coast of Africa, the origin of nearly half of the world’s cocoa, hundreds of thousands of children work or are enslaved on cocoa farms. With poverty running rampant and average cocoa revenues ranging from $30-$108 per household member per year, producers have no choice but to utilize child labor for dangerous farming tasks. Some children, seeking to help their poor families, even end up as slaves on cocoa farms far from home. Slavery drags on and we are paying the slaveholder’s wages.

    Approximately 286,000 children between the ages of nine and twelve have been reported to work on cocoa farms on the Ivory Coast alone with as many as 12,000 likely to have arrived in their situation as a result of child trafficking. These children are often at risk of injury from machetes and exposure to harmful pesticides. With world cocoa prices so low, many farmers maintain their labor force through trafficking; West African parents living in poverty often sell their kids to cocoa farmers for $50-$100 in hopes that the children will make some money on their own.

    Sadly, although these children work 80 to 100 hours per week, children working on cocoa farms frequently make little or no money and are regularly beaten, starved, and exhausted. Most of these children will never even taste the final product that results from their suffering.

    Story here: http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/3560.html

  5. Migs, and so on it goes. Some say, why do these people in 3rd world countries have so many children..the solution is contraception. But it’s not as clear an issue as children, and more the better are a commodity for labor and often the only thing that helps keep a family from starvation.

  6. We now have our imaginary Leader challenging Julia to hold another election, desperation has certainly taking hold of hot body Abbott.

  7. Excellent post Miglo, I’ve noticed only Green and Black label in my local supermarket, and it’s hidden away on the bootom shelf, beneath sit the other glossy wrappers of the companies mentioned in the global Exchange piece.

  8. Min, I’d say the / gods are swine, but that would be a frightful slur on the character and good name of swine everywhere.

    Yes, Nestle, the company whose ethics and morality are beyond reproach! Just what mothers in the third world need, to spend the pittance they have on a product that is inferior and a health hazard to their children. Give that company a prize!!!!!

    And it’s all very well for people to criticise the third world for having so many children, but their children are possibly not only the difference between starvation or eating, but are their parents’ superannuation.

    That’s why boys are the pressing need; they bring a wife, a dowry payment and grandchildren into the home to look after their parents when they can no longer work.

    Girls are regarded as a financial drain; when they marry, the parents have to provide a dowry out of their scant resources and the daughter’s labour and fecundity belong to the husband’s family.

    Sue, @1.55pm, they won’t criticise good old Woolies. A win on the pokies is just the ticket for the poor.

    Migs, @1.04pm, this is the sort of thing that is rampant in third world countries. Children trafficked for slave labour in garment factories, the gold and diamond industries and as sex slaves.

    And “free marketeers” have the gall to say that third world people are better off financially in the global economy!!!

  9. Crowey, ummm right-o Abbott wants another election because he wants one… because he wants one… because he wants…

    And Tony Baloney what pray tell do you plan to do when you’re in government, just sit on the throne (toilet humor alert).

  10. Coles and Woolies also have a lot to answer for with their plain brand and self-branded cheap imported food products decimating the local agricultural industry.

    Just about everything you buy in the supermarket these days carries the label “made from local and imported ingredients.”

    I bought some sliced ham from the Woolies deli section on the weekend that carried that very label. I asked the girl behind the counter “which part of the sliced ham is local, and which is imported?” To which I was met with a *blank stare*.

    At which point I simultaneously realised the futility of the point I was trying to make as well as my own emerging reality that I’m turning into some mad old bag that asks fkn stupid questions, a bit like my mum.

    The thing is, that young people today will grow up never questioning the absurdity of the notion that a leg of ham can be made from both local and imported ingredients.

    Apparently I have it on good advice that this usually amounts to the ham part (being imported from some non-descript country like China) can then be “wrapped around” a “bare bone” sourced from Australia, and then subsequently removed again to give you your shaved ham made from “local” and “imported” ingredients.

    FFS.

  11. Reb..well there ya’ go..serves you right for buying ham from the deli at Woolies.

    Quote: I’m turning into some mad old bag that asks fkn stupid questions, a bit like my mum.

    From the above this would seem highly likely 😀

    **Don’t worry folks it’s reb from Gutter Trash linky thing is http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/

    ***Reb, I hope that you realise that everyone has done a copy and paste of your quote as above and will use it …and often.

  12. Rumour has it that the large supermarkets inject water into their cuts of meat to add a bit of weight (and cost).

    And reb, I’ve noticed that too. A chicken made from local and imported products is dumbfounding stuff.

  13. I used to work for Marven Poultry then the largest independent poultry grower and distributor…

    ACMF Statement on Importation of Chicken
    Meat – Executive Summary

    Importing fresh or frozen chicken meat is currently illegal in Australia. This is to protect Australian agriculture and consumers from diseases of poultry including those related to wild birds and/or foreign pests of which Australia is currently free. It also protects Australians from public health risks such as bacteria and viruses detrimental to humans as well as chemical contamination of chicken meat from unmonitored residues. Contamination is of particular interest in the area of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is a concern for imported meat as many overseas countries are
    allowed to use medications important in human health management to control disease in flocks; medications which are banned for use in animals in Australia.

    I should imagine that the injecting water thing is nothing more than an old wives tale..I come from a long line of butchers. When meat settles there is always some leaking of juice. But more than likely when meat and fish comes from a supermarket the ‘leaking’ is because it’s been frozen.

    Therefore a very good reason to buy fresh and buy local.

  14. My kind of thread … Migs

    But I won’t labor (sic) the point of our democracy being sacrificed to The Robber Barons …

    Took me a long time to become a “freeman” (ie SFR) I just wish I could break all the shackles to the incompetent, insensitive and greedy bastards that try and ruin run my family’s lives … local government, state government, federal govenment, corrupt union bosses, insatiable mining magnates, lifesucking retail “giants”, precious “professionals”, wannabe dumbwits and Geriatric Harvey!

    Where is that fkn Mothership! :mrgreen:

  15. Bugger! I Forgot those true to lying and bullshit experts – insurance companies! Of ALL makes and models – Suncorp may have learnt its lesson this time but some of us felt its crap interpretations of the “word” in times gone past … 😕

  16. Oh! So true, Mini Mum! A beautiful shepards’ pie this even followed by coffee and a hand delivered, (and hand made of course), “white chocolate rabbit eared cupcake” from our daughter in law (and granddaughter – apprentice cook extraordinaire!)… 😀

  17. Yummm. Eldest and fiance will be staying a few days, home from Italy via Morocco before heading home to Byron Bay. Riccardo cooks, he’s Italian, he’s gorgeous I am going to be spoilt 😀

  18. A year or so ago I read a book called Witnessing History by a lady called Jennifer Zeng. Ms Zeng was imprisoned in a labour camp for being a member of the harmless Falun Gong group.

    While in prison she and other group members worked 20 hours a day to make 100,000 toy rabbits. They were paid nothing for this.

    Who would order 100,000 toy rabbits you might ask.

    Guess who? Nestlé.

  19. Migs, was just thinking how fashionistas in search of the latest trendy piece of clothing or handbag, latest pair of boots think nothing of where or how these hugely overpriced items came to be in the shops or buy on line.

    Somehow, and I think that it’s due in some no small measure to the trendy “buy on line” thing that the where/how and whence the item came from has become very impersonal. It’s just a wow pair of boots, who cares where it came from, who made it and under what conditions as long as “I got it cheaper” and it’s Oh so trendy.

    Maybe that’s it, it’s the impersonal nature of supermarkets, malls and buy on line which has made people far less discerning about things that don’t effect them – that is the slave and child labor who made the item.

  20. On the subject of child labour another one is Arnott’s.

    http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2010/03/world-vision-appeals-biscuit-company-over-child-labour

    World Vision Australia’s CEO Tim Costello says every Australian loves Tim Tams and Mint Slices, but Australians want to know the chocolate in these biscuits has been produced ethically.

    Costello is calling on Arnott’s to demonstrate that it is not indirectly supporting the worst forms of child labour.

    According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, approximately 75 percent of the world’s cocoa is sourced from West Africa.

    A report published by the US Department of State indicated that there are at least 100,000 child labourers in the Ivory Coast alone. Some of these children are kidnapped from neighbouring countries and sold into slavery or lured with false promises of paid work.

  21. We can thank that fantastic FTA that the Rodent government negotiated with the US for the dodgy meat imports. And the push to import dodgy fruit. Our customs regulations have been undermined as a result.

    Great idea to sell Arnotts down the river, obviously.

  22. Jane, I remember watching Mark Vale looking very pleased with himself with all the wheeling and dealing over the FTA, but the man was an idiot IMO.
    When you look at what went down, he was done like a dinner….a bit like the “Tingles last weekend 😦

    http://www.tradewatch.org.au/AUSFTA/Index.html

    Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture, Quarantine,Manufacturing, Environment, Culture/Audio Visual contentIntellectual Property, Public Service, Economics,

  23. Pip @11.03am, 20/4, I remember the smug look on that idiot’s face and wondering how he could be so self-congratulatory when it was patently obvious Vale couldn’t negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag.

    I subsequently bought a book entitled “How To Kill a Country” outlining just how bad the FTA was for this country.

  24. Jane, it seemed like he was very chuffed to be dealing with the big kids, and too stoopid to realise they were laughing behind his back at their good fortune.

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