How Greenpeace beat Nestle - globally


So Greenpeace went after Nestle to stop using palm oil from Sinar Mas, a company in Indonesia.  They made a revolting take-off on the Kitkat advertisement in which you see a guy taking a Kitkat, breaking off a row and starting to eat it.  Except that it’s an orangutan’s finger, and blood spurts out and drips down his chin and… you get the picture.  It was too gross to pass on, and most who saw it clicked away.

But Nestle was outraged.

They contacted Google (YouTube) and requested the film be removed as it infringed on their trademark.  Google complied, and Greenpeace had their moment.  They immediately requested that people complain on Nestle’s facebook page.

…and the complaints poured in

Nestle’s facebook page was besieged by complaints.  This got the press interested internationally (CNN, Daily Telegraph, Cnet, the Globe & Mail, Forbes, etc.) fanning the flames further.   Nestle’s facebook manager got peeved, and started to answer back. 

“Thanks for the lesson in manners. Consider yourself embraced. But it’s our page, we set the rules, it was ever thus."

And after deleting posts:

“Oh please… it’s like we’re censoring everything to allow only positive comments.”

Which outraged the public further.  Viewings of the film soared – from thousands to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions.

The orangutan flipped Nestle’s purchasing practices

Remember Unilever?  The single largest buyer of palm oil in the world?  As soon as the campaign went live for them, they made commitments – and the story never broke.  So their reputation is intact, and their public relations strong. Nestle, which is a much smaller user of palm oil, has now “established Responsible Sourcing Guidelines and has committed to ensuring that its products do not have a deforestation footprint” - for all their products, not just palm oil and not just KitKat. 

To guarantee progress, they have signed up with The Forest Trust (TFT), an independent NGO, and note that they are building further partnerships “to build a global movement to support the development, implementation and disclosure of sustainable forestry practices. We have joined a coalition calling for a moratorium on rainforest destruction for palm oil in Indonesia and have become an active member of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).”. 

The right thing to do.  But at what a cost…