For those of you who may have missed the final chapter in Greenpeace’s campaign against Nestlé, in mid-May Nestlé announced a partnership with The Forest Trust causing Greenpeace to claim victory. Their website says their campaigning video which had 1.5 million views, catelysing 200k emails and countless phone calls and comments on Facebook, helped Nestle reconsider its palm oil sourcing policies and practices.
In a letter to Greenpeace, Nestlé chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe highlighted how the two organisations could work together to address the problem of rainforest destruction and joined the Coalition on Palm Oil. Great to see Nestlé finally listened and is now no doubt more activey managing its social profiles and reputation. The spotlight is now on the financial services sector, in particular the HSBC.
By investing in Sinar Mas, Greenpeace claims the bank is supporting a destructive industry contradicting claims made in its sustainability statements on its website. As companies make their sustainable development positions more widely available online they must be prepared to be more closely scrutinised.
Brands taking sustainable development seriously can gain credibility and support by joining organisations such as the Global Reporting Initiative designed to help multinationals standardise their sustainability reporting and practices through industry wide guidelines.
Greenpeace got a great result with Nestlé but the best result for a brand is to be ahead of the environmentalists. By embracing sustainability driven innovation, they have a chance to lead rather than react. As the Nestle versus Greenpeace story shows the currency and relevancy of this term, coined by Arthur D. Little consultants in 2005, is only increasing as time passes.