It can be a life-changing realization to find out about the corporations that control so many aspects of our daily lives without our immediate awareness. The entire food industry, for instance, is controlled by just a handful of gigantic corporations that have swallowed up a number of smaller companies within the last few decades, and continue to grow and expand that control globally. The result is that many of the brands of food and drink you can buy at the supermarket are owned by the same corporation, regardless of what brand-name you see on the label. This means that while there is an illusion of great choice and variety, you are actually very short of options. Because whichever product you go for, it is likely that your money will end up in the same hands, and what is more: supporting that corporation's way of doing business, which, more often than not (a hell of a lot more often) is likely to be unscrupulous, unethical and hazardous to the environment. This is a major concern in itself. And who really believes that such a situation fits the description of a "free market"?
One would think it should be the law for product labels to give a clear indication of what company is behind it. But not so. Instead, you, as a consumer, are mislead to believe that you have the choice between a number of different options. It takes a careful eye to what company a product is owned by. Usually, if you are well informed in advance, you will find a hint in small print, on the label at the back. And a lot of times, you will find that a product belongs to the Unilever group. Unilever, which incorporates Nestle, is the world's largest single grocery-marketing corporation and controls natural resources on a scale that in some cases, it amounts to a near monopoly. This is true particularly of water: Nestle "owns" an alarmingly high percentage of the world's water resources, including some on which local populations have depended for generations and who are now barred from accessing it. Perhaps next Unilever will buy up the world's resources of air to market to us, and we will have no choice but to pay them for it.....via any of their manifold brand-names. But from whom will they buy it, we wonder?
Here is a list of some brands that belong to the Unilever and Nestle groups:
Nestle (Nestea, Nescafe, Nesquick)
Walls Ice Cream
Further unethical companies include:
Kraft (including Miracoli, Dr .Oetker etc.)
Last but not least: never simply trust a company/brand's claims to being ecological or sustainable without having credible certifications to prove it. Always do your own research and stay alert. Companies will shamelessly adopt an "eco-friendly" image in their adverts and public statements even when the opposite is true.
© 2012-2013 Little-Eco-Gnome