Corporate Community and Ethical Blindness

Nestlé seems to be on the offensive regarding their reputation on the web. This discussion page from Wikipedia illustrates a balanced and reasonable approach by corporate PR to keeping their public image clean. Another facet of this campaign emerged this morning in a comment on my post regarding Scoble’s open-faced warmth and the hospitable welcome he gave Nestlé leaders on a recent occasion at Microsoft. George Vezza of Nestlé disagreed with my representation of his firm and shared his disagreement here:

Frank,

I am a senior executive at this so called cruel corporation you speak of. I attended the workshop and met Robert Scoble. It was his presentation that has urged me to reach out to the bloggers of the world. Let me say that working at a senior level for 22 years with Nestle gives me a pretty good first hand view of this so called “evil corporation”. Maybe it is you that is naive and not Robert. Do you think that the 270,000 employees are all droids that carry out the evil doings of the CEO. We are raising our children, taking care of our pets and contributing to society like every other human being. We are people just like you that have strong personal values and care about others. We are extremely sensitive to local laws and any employee that knowingly breaks those laws will be terminated. This is the message that comes down from the top. I have been privy to many meetings with the CEO and never witnessed any sign of covert plans or actions that you may find in an “evil corporation”. Why would we do this, our Consumers make a purchase decision every second and they vote with there choice of our brands. Social responsibility is not just good practise but it is critical for good business.

When Countries are in crisis with Hurricanes, floods, etc. it is Nestle employees (not evil corporations) that are taking decisions to send food and aid. Then because of badpress and easy target we are then accused of trying to sway the poor for profits. There are many situations when we choose not to publically announce our donations because we know that some group will try to twist the gesture in to a corporate profit scheme.

But why try and change your mind, you seem to be fixated on the non profit NGO articles that exist(3rd party accounts). I am actually writing this blog to support my new friend Robert Scoble who shared 2 hours of his valuable time and is passionate about what he does.

George Vezza
Senior Leader
Nestle

George signs off as a “Senior Leader,” and I think it is telling that his title is (or quite recently was) also “Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Nestlé Region Caribe.” While it was Robert’s presentation “that has urged [George] to reach out to the bloggers of the world,” I think we can safely assume that it is also a corporate public relations strategy.

I do think that Robert helped convince the company leadership that they should pay attention to blogs. Good job Robert! And thanks for the follow-through George. By opening up the conversation I think people of conscience on all sides of these issues will make more progress than by sitting in our little bloggy corners talking inward and only to each other about depressing situations. I responded to George in my comment box, but the response was lengthy and I thought to raise the discussion up here to the blog post level in order to keep it alive a little longer and to draw some attention to it. I was raised by a corporate dad, a meat industry guy who found community among his co-workers. We were well provided for, and our friends, dad’s co-workers and their families, were nice people with decent values. I get where George is coming from. Anyway, here’s what I wrote in response to George’s comment reproduced above:

George, I stand corrected. The corporation of course is NOT cruel. It is mere artifice, a product of paper, forms and agreements. And you are correct that in a few minutes time I did pull together third party accounts of your company’s ethical lapses, rather than returning to source material for documentation. And of course a lot of that source material would come from NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) and non-profit organizations, since there is no profit in struggling against a system that emerged in the 17th century to organize markets and has seen little change since an oligarchy of major shareholders emerged to stabilize that system for their own continuing profit.

I appreciate your sensitivity to criticism, and I am sure Robert can stand up for himself if he feels like he needs to question my assertions regarding his awareness of your company’s tacit support of slave labor in raw materials markets in the chocolate industry and the thirty year uncorrected history of infant formula marketing in third world markets that is well documented in this Wikipedia article.

I understand your loyalty and the cloying self-righteousness of your assertion that your community, your friends and co-workers in the corporation, is motivated by positive feelings, by empathy and concern for your fellow man and that you ship foodstuffs to hurricane victims. On behalf of victims of natural disasters everywhere, thanks!

Your corporate community comprises hundreds of thousands of employees working for a company founded on a market economy that limits the liability of shareholders to corporate assets. Naturally it is management’s responsibility to protect those assets and to break no laws.

I don’t think that you are evil George, nor are your hundreds of thousands of co-workers. But I think you have been sold a bill of goods regarding ethical responsibility and the way your corporation shades the difference between doing what’s permitted and doing what’s right.

I’m sure I am naive in some ways. I’m refusing to be a “good German” in this era, trying to remind people that while many good men and women died during World War Two, corporations like Krupps, Mitsubishi, Shell Oil, Nestle, and IG Farben lived on. Of these companies, only Nestle was fortunate enough to be a global enterprise with headquarters in a neutral country. Shell Oil shared that good fortune by being nominally a company that belonged to the “Allies.” But indeed, these companies did business across borders, profited by the need to feed, and arm, and fuel armies on both sides of the conflict. I am sure it is naive of me to think that a principled position for the directors at IG Farben to have taken would have been to deny the German government access to Zyklon B and to refuse to use forced labor.

But Nestle is not IG Farben, and where Nestle’s business plans and marketing strategies have a negative impact on local populations, the issues are not so easily qualified. There are billions of us on this planet and we need large organizations seeing to the logistics of food and beverage manufacture and supply. The way we are organized in a free market system, Nestle is at the pinnacle in meeting our demands.

If you can honestly say and support that these demands are not manipulated to the detriment of consumers in the case of the African baby formula market, that your bottled water operations consider the balance of inflow and withdrawal assuring that aquifers are replenished rather than drained, that your company has a positive program to refuse raw materials from slave grown cocoa bean plantations, then I will take it all back and apologize to you and to Robert for mixing him into this and to Nestle staffers and shareholders world-wide for raising an issue that I believe needs public discussion.

Posted in People, Politics
31 comments on “Corporate Community and Ethical Blindness
  1. Jon Husband says:

    It’s already pretty neat that a corporate executive of a large multinational like Nestlé has taken the time to read your blog post and actually write out a comment.

    And yes the exchange offers the opportunity to draw the clear distinction between individual humans and their lives as humans – partners, parents, friends, colleagues, volunteers, neighbours – and the purpose, role and practices of a profit-maximizing corporations. We can of course go from there to the drivers of corporations in a capital-market driven world, and whether the corporations exist to serve society or shareholders .. which takes us into the legal framework that has developed to allow and enable corporations to exist as they do today. As far as I know, the laws came first .. corporations are not a natural element of this planet’s makeup, but a construction of humans .. and many argue today that the legakl famework needs some changing, notably with multiple-jurisdiction spanning multi-nationals.

    For me, the issue, and Mr. Vezza’s response, brings to mind the commonly-observed practice of senior execs of companies being on the boards of cahrities and volunteer organizations in their communities .. something they can point to with pride as examples of their “good corporate citizenship”. I always wonder whther these people join and offer their time and effort because they are interested in the purpose and issues of the voluntary / charitable organization (and I do not doubt for an instant that some indeed are) or whther they join these things to get the obligatory picture in the newspaper, the item on the CV and the opportunities to do more business networking with the other business leaders in the community / marketplace (leading to greater connections, opportunities, etc.)

    I also do not doubt for an instant that the majority do it for the latter reason, and not because of their interest or passion in the purpose of the organization to/for which they volunteer their time or persona as a board member. They may become very interested, even passionate, as a result of their involvement and that is wonderful, but I’d be willing to bet that is an outcome, not an intention.

  2. Shelley says:

    Your response is very good, Frank. A ‘danger’ inherent when executives of corporations start responding is that webloggers become ‘flattered’ at the response and tone down initial concerns.

    This executive did not address your issues. Instead, he focused on himself and others that work at the corporation, as ‘just one of the folks’. Your original concern, though, wasn’t that George was a bad man. Your original concern was that Nestlé is not a corporation that takes its community responsibility seriously, and the company having a weblog isn’t going to make this ‘better’.

    I thought that Scoble’s response on this ‘not debate’ was atrocious.

  3. Scoble said, “Nestle just became a little more human due to a letter from George. I appreciate that a senior executive is fighting for his company’s reputation! I want to do business with people like that.” I think this underscores that naivete I was talking about in my earlier post. I think part of what we are reacting against is a foolish optimism that obscures the cold reality of boardroom strategy. Sometimes superficiality is all there is… you peel back the surface, and find there’s nothing underneath. George and Robert may be two people who are built that way: happy, passionate, engaged, optimistic, charming, true believers who really don’t see the reason for looking too deeply into matters that I find compelling.

    Certainly if I was an executive VP in charge of marketing, intent on maximizing profits in low margin markets, I would want good soldiers at the VP level who would take my orders on faith.

    Who does George report to, I wonder? Paul Bulcke? Lars Oloffson?

  4. I’m trying to get corporations to engage with us — I think the world is better when we actually sit down and have conversations about important things without yelling and screaming at each other.

    If that requires being a bit superficial, so be it.

    We won’t get them to come if all we do is throw bricks through their front windows and demonstrate that we’re unflexible or unable to change our opinions about them too. A company can do 95 good acts, but if it does 5 evil ones (or even one) it can throw away all that good. I’d rather focus on the 95, trying to make it a higher percentage. And I have seen people get fired for doing evil at both big companies I worked at, so know that overall organizations DO care about such things.

    But, thanks to both of you for missing what I was trying to do here. I aimed my audience here BECAUSE I thought you had a good point to make about Nestle — and because I think your words will help them be a better corporation in the future. I’m sure there are thousands who now know about your concerns of Nestle that didn’t know before.

    If that’s an atrocious response, so be it.

  5. Josh says:

    First, let me say that I think corporations should do more than the law requires in matters of morality and conscience. Nestle’s alleged crimes aren’t what brought be to this blog however.

    In a comment above Shelly says that there is a danger of being “flattered” by a response to a blog post. From my perspective, anything that brings civility and respect to the internet, especially on issues of a polarizing nature, is something that should be welcomed.

    The truth is, you *should* be flattered that George took the time to comment, that he engaged you in conversation. It would be rude not to be appreciative (and Frank indeed was appreciative in the post above, if not in his comment response). Does this mean that you throw all your previous opinions out the window? Of course not. But to cynically deny yourself the very human emotion of being flattered when someone takes the time to acknowledge your work and ideas – well that way lies misery. It’s inhuman.

  6. Robert, it’s hard to engage via text, especially when there’s no real-life relationship to fall back on… let me try to add something more here.

    First, for me this about the Big Companies and the people who control them. A guy like George has an illusion of control because he is positioned three, four or five seats from the top of the pyramid of corporate management. He is a true believer or he never would have got that high. He smiles, he laughs, he brings good cheer. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think some of your success is based on the same positive attributes. You guys think, “Hell, it’s all good. What’s the next right thing for us to do.”

    Now take a guy like me. I have a dark vision of a shadowy power structure that does things strictly to enhance their own power and control. Some of them inherited their position and were trained to play the game, others are just naturally good at it and have asserted dominance. Corporations are tools they use to improve their score which is measured in Swiss francs, Euros, Dollars, Yen and so forth. these are the directors and the majority shareholders, the people who employ the CXOs.

    Right now I have a desk next to a guy who is a superb bureaucrat. The other night he was sweating over a deadline and he’d been working hard for days. I offered that it seemed like he was working really hard. He put on his game face and began a boring recitation of the ins and outs of a new process and a new structure, and I almost had to shake him by the shoulders to pull him out of it, see him smile and say that yeah, there’s a lot of work right now.

    This game-face thing is the superficiality I’m talking about. My co-worker was superficial when he was talking about the process, but he got real when he let go and talked about how he felt.

    We each owe it to ourselves to breathe deep, shake off the bullshit, and simply be clear what we’re talking about. You and George have each now turned this conversation toward a feeling of personal affront. This is great for George because he benefits by drawing a line and having the big guys like you on his side of it. Score one for George. If he can frame this as Robert Scoble versus an anti-Nestle blogger he’s done his PR job in our venue.

    But from my point of view, the idea of getting corporations to engage with us starts with influencing them to do the right thing. Take Nestle’s Ethiopian problem. The Marxists there had nationalized some of Nestle’s property without fair compensation. Later Nestle came back to Ethiopia when the Marxists were out of power and they sued for a lot of money. Now, there wasn’t a lot of money there at the time. Mostly, people were like starving to death all over the country and the government didn’t have the cash. So Nestle compromised… they settled for less than their claim, and they gave that settlement back to the people of Ethiopia for famine relief. This happened because of three things: pressure from the World Bank (who said “get real”), pressure from Oxfam, one of the NGOs that George rails against, and just as important – a willingness on the part of the shareholders, the board and the senior management of Nestle finally to do the right thing and not literally take food out of the mouths of starving people.

    The way the world works there is so much struggle. Why did this have to be a conflict? I think it’s because of how the “game” is played. They couldn’t just do the right thing. I wonder what George thought about all that at the time.

    Robert, your work right now is to put tools in the hands of these people in order to help them over the hump of disfunctional communication while my work is to point out where the disfunctional communication has led us. To do your work requires a sunny disposition, so don’t let me rain on that. To do my work requires a cranky realism that is likely to piss off the corporateers before they are moved to put the rice back in the bowls they’ve stolen it out of.

    Coming from my dark perspective, naturally your sunshine appears superficial. I hope you can go with that and not hold it against me personally.

    (Incidentally, I’ve been blogging since 2021 and I think this week is about the first time I’ve mentioned Nestle, pro or con.)

    update:  I did mention Nestle once a few years ago

  7. Shelley says:

    Robert, I missed absolutely nothing of what you’re trying to do.

    This corporation flows money into the coffers of those who use children for labor, many sold into a virtual form of slavery. Exactly how does one go about being civil with an organization such as this? How does one sit down at a table without being filled with revulsion at the absolute callous disregard for the welfare of others in the interests of corporate profit?

    No matter how many trucks of carefully labeled Nestlé water is trucked, in a highly publicized manner, to a hurricane zone, this one act cannot ‘make up for’ the other. And it doesn’t matter if the company markets a brand of ‘fair trade’ coffee if it turns a blind eye to the source of it’s major commodity, cocoa.

    This is not a poor company. It makes 65 billion in _profits_ a year. That’s profits. My god, it can’t afford a cut of half a billion to pay fair value? Can’t George take one less vacation a year? Perhaps buy his kids one less toy?

    If Nestlé gets into weblogging the only ones who will profit will be the consultants and authors who push weblogging as an effective corporate tool.

    And how is most of this being marketed to these big corporations? Monitor weblogs so that you can nip concerns in the bud before enough people get engaged to be _really_ dangerous.

    Frank said, “We each owe it to ourselves to breathe deep, shake off the bullshit, and simply be clear what we’re talking about. You and George have each now turned this conversation toward a feeling of personal affront. This is great for George because he benefits by drawing a line and having the big guys like you on his side of it. Score one for George. If he can frame this as Robert Scoble versus an anti-Nestle blogger he’s done his PR job in our venue.”

    Frank got it, in one.

    Josh, flattered that an Important man like George condescended to come into Frank’s comments and tell Frank he’s all wrong; what a nice guy he (George) is, without ONCE addressing any of the specifics Frank listed?

    I don’t know about Frank, but I wouldn’t feel flattered about having my concerns brushed aside, and being condescended to.

    As for being civil, too much of weblogging revolves around civility. If we continue with this push to be ‘nice’, webloggers will end up being the noisiest, most self-congratulatory, and most ineffectual people in the world.

    Nestlé wants to change webloggers’ opinions? Than have George come back in and address what was stated about Nestlé in article.

  8. George says:

    Frank,

    Thanks for taking the time to write a detailed reply. This is my second blog and I may stress my blog not Nestle’s. As you can tell this is my time (the weekend) and I have done so out of personal interest on knowing more about the blogging world where MY interests were peaked by Robert.

    This is not some corporate plan to sway the blogging world towards Nestle being perceived as a kinder gentler Company. It was not a well scripted PR plan to pull Robert on my side in fact had I known this would be the perception I would have left his name out of it.Since the meeting last week with Robert Nestle has not had time to make a decison on a blogging strategy. This is just me and I hope I am doing the right thing.

    George to Robert…..lets leave Nestle out of this for a moment. My own feelings are that there is a long history of Governments, Religion, Countries, and yes Corporations that have blinded the masses with propaganda and eventually did evil acts. With this history it is good that people like you and the blogging world act as watchdogs to avoid repeating of the past. I certainly don’t believe this is the case at Nestle. If I ever get the feeling that I am wrong then I walk away and return to my home Country and find another Company.

    You know generally when a Company is big they don’t need to save money to risk cutting corners,they pay all licence cost for software, they invest in proper wastewater treatment plants, they become good social citizens.The Companies that take risks don’t last long. In fact many times we are not competitive with small local companies who do not follow local laws and do not draw the attenton of NGOs. The world is to small to play around with saving a few dollars and risking public isolation.

    As you clearly understand Corporations are run by people and many decision making responsibilities are pushed down to the local Country Managers and sometimes they make mistakes. People maked decisions mostly with the right intentions that sometimes backfire. However CEOs are responsible for all decisions that impact the Nestle Brand and often find themselves in situations that require repair.

    The more people you have making decisions the more open you are to mistakes being made. The key point I was trying to make from an inside perspective is that Nestle is not a calculating evil doer. I know most of the key personal at the most senior rank and I see on a daily basis communication and policy being developed with strong intent for social responsibility.

    I noticed there were several blogs on why I did not engage in details and debate issues. The reason for this is simply that I am not blogging to improve PR for Nestle on events around the world. This would take far to long and I am enjoying a quite weekend in July where the weather is hot. I urge you to visit our site and read Nestle in Africa if you want details.

    The Company I work for has been around for over 100 years, anyone that has lived a 100 years would make some mistakes but that does not make them evil, my belief and that is all I have is that Nestle is a great corporate citizen with honestly good intentions.

    With regards to your comments about your co-worker….. (“Right now I have a desk next to a guy who is a superb bureaucrat. The other night he was sweating over a deadline and he’d been working hard for days”).Does he have to be a bureaucrat to work hard and take pride in his work. Maybe he is like many of the hard workers in our society that chooses to do what ever they do well for self satisfaction not simply to collect a paycheck.I believe that you love to blog and spend a great amount of time doing it because you are passionate about this. Be careful some one may give you a shake while you are on the keyboard and tell you to smile while inside you have been smiling the whole time

    Regards,
    George

  9. Jon Husband says:

    The more people you have making decisions the more open you are to mistakes being made. The key point I was trying to make from an inside perspective is that Nestle is not a calculating evil doer. I know most of the key personal at the most senior rank and I see on a daily basis communication and policy being developed with strong intent for social responsibility.

    Traditional hierarchical structures in a c orporate setting have been very effective for the past 75 – 100 years, but did not foesee hyperlinks .. corporations (especially large one) have been like forteresses with thick stone walls and moats. Today the situation is increasingly more some form of translucent asomotic membrane or wondow between a corporation and its customers, and yes even shareholders and other “stakeholders”. And the “command-and-control” on the part of senior higher-up leaders is increasingly becoming (or needs to be) some form of “champion-and-channel” (championing clear and responsible-to-the-business- AND society values, and channeling resources and capability to help with the decision-making at the operational levels of such large corporations.

    Regardless of whether large corporations like it or not, it IS a more transparent world .. the stories linked to, the hyperlinks themselves and the infrastructure on which they float electronically are not going away, unless governments legislate them away or into more controllable forms, which may mean suppression of all but polite customer service enquiries (kinda like it used to be, when this medium was not available.

    I (and I believe many others) are not suggesting that corporations bend over and do everything every blogger suggests to them. Sometimes bloggers can be like the angry, abusive and wrong fomrer client who holds a branch hostage, yelling and screaming and frightening everyone (I once had toi call the cops on a customer who would leave the branch, when I was a young bank branch manager), and sometimes they can be one of your best sources of new ideas or new awareness of how a company is perceived and how that might be changed. Just like in real 3D life, both have to be listened to, acknowledged and attended to.

    Thank you, George, for taking your personal time and having the interest to go further … sometimes an issue or argument is quickly and easily resolved, and sometimes not. I doubt that anyone expects here that you will say that you will develop and carry to the Nestleboard suggestions that Nestle change some of its operational policies, but certainly more attentive and inclusive listening (even if it doesn;t change things) will get noticed. If done regularly and with skill, it moves to the realm of “dialogue with customers and stakeholders”, which I think (I hope I am not being too presumptuous here) is the larger point.

    So far, you’re doing better than Richard Edelman, who promises openness and transparency, calls out Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP regarding the same, but is selective about his openness and transparency (seemingly) on his company’s blog.

  10. Charles Follymacher says:

    Proud o’ ya, Frank, m’boy. Ya done good.

  11. Charles Follymacher says:

    You, too, Jon. Great stuff. Yes, the magic cluetrain chugs on transparency. The massing unwashed have managed to cripple a few things (e.g. seal hunt, drunk driving, cigarette smoking) without aid of the intarweb, so just imagine as more and more realize and utilize its potential to embarass. Give it another 10 years. BigCorp ain’t seen nuthin yet.

  12. Jon Husband says:

    zackly .. we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. I keep saying that here and there on my blog, which is why I have so few readers 😉

  13. jeneane says:

    Sorry. Just catching up here.

    “We are raising our children, taking care of our pets and contributing to society like every other human being.” — George from Nestle.

    huh?

    Okay, back to “engagement” on the issues.

  14. Josh says:

    Shelley, not to pick on something so small in this discussion, are you sure they make $65 billion in profits? From what I can tell, profits were less than $10B. I now this is a small thing, but when you throw out numbers make sure they are correct. Otherwise, you lose credibility. Even still, Nestle could do more with all of those profits. As could the oil companies.

  15. Robert says:

    Josh said… Even still, Nestle could do more with all of those profits. As could the oil companies.

    I have to ask, why? When did it suddenly become the responsibility of big companies to give away their profits?

    Companies should exist for one purpose, and one purpose only: to make money for the shareholders who have invested in it, and to do so in a manner that is legal and moral. (I would define moral as things like not using child labor).

    If a company violates the legality they should of course be prosecuted ala Enron, if the morality is violated it should be called attention to, and consumers should “vote with their feet” as the saying goes by purchasing products of the competitor.

    I don’t know where we get this concept from that a business must give away part of it’s profits. A corporation is not a person, it is (as was pointed out) a paper entity. Return the money to the shareholders, and let them decide what charities they wish to donate to.

    Robert

  16. Jon Husband says:

    do more = give away ??

  17. McD says:

    I think the message many would like Nestle to absorb would be:

    own the unintented (or intented) consequences of your enterprise… if your business causes harm take expedient steps to remediate or address that harm.

    How often do we see resources expended to mask or obfuscate the effect of a corporate activity that caused significant harm. It becomes a corporate exercise in PR to shift blame or cover tracks.

    What people like Frank do in these cases is to raise the awareness of more people to stop that game short and get the PR engines working internally at the Big Co to see that owning the problem and putting forth effort to remediate the harm is the most expedient path to make the bad thing go away.

    Blogging is just a tool for getting messages out on both sides of this issue… lawyers will often counsel a client to avoid any sign of an apology when there’s risk assocaited with admitting guilt. A good PR consultant would likely counsel the opposite strategy: align with the injured party and avoid pushing them into a corner.

    Many large companies have internal strategies that encourage them to root out the consequences of the business and add that data into their risk assessment analysis. Frank’s focus on nestle could have the effect. They have the resourcs to develop an enterprise conscience if it becomes important enough. That’s the power of Frank’s voice in these conversations… we can teach even the largest enterprise to see the value of caring. And if we can’t then we can create consequences for that decision too.

  18. Charles Follymacher says:

    lemme exclaim now, while i have just enough elasticity to manage a highish kick and have strength enough to hoist a pom-pom: “perfectly put, McD!”

  19. No offense, Charles, but this cheerleader image is hard to digest… should I visualize you in one of those short pleated skirts? No, wait! The pardigm of male cheerleaderishness just surfaced… I see you as a collegiate George W. Bush.

  20. McD says:

    1st: Thanks Charles. I re-read that comment and it reads like I’m channeling an editorial writer. It also limited typos.

    Tnen I read your comment and I remembered that this can also be a chance to play with language and imagery… surprize and entertain.

    and then Frank’s vicious linking to that guy he and I must call our PotUS. It’s become perfectly clear this week why they keep that fool away from the press.

  21. Ozy says:

    Thanks, very well done! Good to have your voice on this.

    “I don’t think that you are evil George, nor are your hundreds of thousands of co-workers. But I think you have been sold a bill of goods regarding ethical responsibility and the way your corporation shades the difference between doing what’s permitted and doing what’s right.”

    Add to that willful ignorance. “Mr. Vezza”, please, if you are for real, and I have no way of knowing if you are (it seems crazy unlikely), but if you are–do a little, just a little reading and research. You do sound more than a little naive, and some reading of the real history of Nestle in Africa with honest, open eyes will surely convince you that Nestle has been, let’s say, far from a model corporate citizen. Would you, could you deny this?

    Robert (3 posts back):
    “Do more” does not equal “give away” and I think that is not too difficult to understand! This isn’t the Young Capitalists Explorer’s Club. In the real world some large companies have a “soul”, a culture of giving back to the world, and I don’t mean just after natural disaster.

  22. Jon Husband says:

    do male cheerleaders wear codpieces ?

  23. Possibly. Also shoes with curly toes and bells on them.

  24. Charles Follymacher says:

    lessee, what do we have here…high kicks, skirts, codpieces, curled toes and…bush. man…oh, nevermind.

  25. Jon Husband says:

    a king in drag ?

  26. would that be, ummm… a queen? or a joker.

  27. Charles Follymacher says:

    y’know, i totally didn’t get the follymacher-as-collegiate-bush trap there at first. tough shot, but ok fair enough, I prolly gnarled your furry brow tossing out such relatively naked compliments. i’ve got to learn to telegraph intent a little better but, for future reference, every now and then i like to flip me smile right side up.

  28. Naw, I got the compliments and if I were a gent I woulda simply thanked you and moved on. But I’m a troublemaker at heart…

  29. John Sinclair says:

    Nestle have done terrible things, and continue to do terrible things. We don’t need companies like Nestle. I haven’t knowingly bought a Nestle product since the scandal of baby milk came out. Perhaps if instead of talking all of you bloggers out there did as I have done we wouldn’t have to listen to a corporate man or woman defending a corporate ethos because all those companies with the wrong ethos would simply cease to exist. Don’t buy any Nestle products, ever, …. it really is that simple.

  30. This last coment coming from a Shell IP address in the Netherlands is a crack-up.

7 Pings/Trackbacks for "Corporate Community and Ethical Blindness"
  1. […] This is good stuff. An executive at Nestle answered back a blogger who said some harsh things about Nestle. I hope they start a blog and show us what it’s like working at Nestle. I usually don’t like being attacked but, on aggregate, I learn a lot more from those who don’t like me than those who do. […]

  2. […] Via Scoble’s post about Nestle, I read the letter that a Nestle executive wrote.  This sort of engagement (or the beginnings of engagement) from corporate people is helpful.  I added a comment noting that I think it’s a constant balance between what we want to learn and what the cost is for learning it.In the argument for more corporate blogging, I think that “cost” turns out more to be the opportunity cost that the corporations lose if they do not get in on the conversation.  It’s still a bit of a struggle for those corporations to see the direct benefit of blogging.  I think they’ll come around, and the Nestle letter is a start.I think too that more executives are really listening than are not listening.  The challenge is to let those people who want to be heard know that they are being listened to.  It’s a matter of perception.  Many clients or users or customers don’t ‘feel’ listened to, and they just bark louder.  Blogging helps amplify the voices of customers and hopefully companies will continue on a path towards better, more open, more transparent communication. […]

  3. […] Frank posted a follow up post responding to the execute, and where additional discussion also focused on the importance of being ‘civil’ in these discussions, and how Frank should have been flattered this important executive actually wrote a comment in his post. […]

  4. ScobleWantsCandy/NakedCrunch

    Scoble, I like you and everything. Just like everybody else does. But to call Nestle’s hit and run press release comment left by George The Nestle Guy on Paynter’s post Engagement? Like a record, Baby. Anyone like another glass of

  5. […] From a letter from Nestle senior management: “Why would we do this, our Consumers make a purchase decision every second and they vote with there choice of our brands.” […]

  6. […] George Vezza is testing the waters w/ some blog responses.  Yay!  Yesterday I gave some kudos to more corporate blogging.  Today George dropped by that post with a comment and sounds very real, open and honest to me.He also dropped by Frank Paynter’s (again) and Robert Scoble’s (again), with some more sharing and more engagement.  This is a good start.George, keep it up!  It will take time and energy.  You will win people over for your company with being genuine.  I know you mention Nestle doesn’t have a corporate blog strategy yet.  Sounds like you should be able to keep up your good work without hindrances then!    At least for the time being. […]

  7. […] real george By Frank Paynter George Vezza retoornt in the comments below, and thus one last time will I elevate his epistolary blog-mots to a spot here in the post: Frank, […]

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