Your actions can make a difference

MIKE'S MUSINGS: I try not to buy products from any company that is terrible when there are similar products that aren’t

Nestlé takes water out of the ground near Hope, B.C., puts it through a filter and sells it for billions of dollars.

They pay zero dollars for the product, and the product is the lifeblood of mankind.

Soon, however, they will have to pay a nominal fee to access our groundwater and sell it for a massive profit, and people have essentially lost their minds about that.

And for good reason, I’d say.

The opposing sides on this debate seem to be A) Charge Nestlé more for the water they’re taking or B) Don’t do that, because then it’ll be considered “selling” the water and it’ll open the potential floodgates (pun intended) for more corporations to come buy up all our water because of free trade agreements and other factors.

I have a different idea.

I simply try not to buy Nestlé products. I’m doing my part, however small, to put them out of business altogether, because then we won’t have to worry about how much water they’re taking out of the ground and how much they’re paying for it.

This sounds ridiculous, and I guess it probably is, since Nestlé is one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, but there’s that old cliché about how “if everyone chips in….”

I’m not claiming this idea is a revolutionary one. There have been calls for Nestlé boycotts for over 30 years.

The long and short of it is this, though: I try not to buy products from any company that is terrible when there are choices of similar products from those who aren’t – at least until I find out that those companies are, too.

I used to buy NFL gear, for example, but I don’t anymore.

At some point I realized that particular football-based corporate entity supports men who exploit and abuse women and pretends their organization doesn’t exploit the players themselves, permanently damaging their brains so the corporate body can satisfy stakeholders (and then attempts to cover up the proof that they do that). I’ve stopped buying NCAA-licensed gear for the same reason. If I liked soccer, I wouldn’t buy anything that FIFA could profit from, either.

So I also don’t buy products from a company that is consistently rated one of the worst in the world when it comes to ethical business practices and has a track record that includes numerous reports of violating the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes – which protects millions of children all over the world from unnecessary suffering and death – and has been sued for their involvement in trafficking, torture and forced labour of children for the production and harvest of cocoa beans in Africa. (That’s Nestlé, by the way.)

At least it’s easy to avoid Nestlé products. They really don’t make anything that someone else doesn’t make better, in my opinion. I’ll take a Clif bar over a Powerbar and a Mars bar over an Oh Henry or Butterfinger every time. And if you’re going to buy coffee whitener instead of actual coffee cream, does it really matter if it’s Coffeemate or some no name brand?

Heck, I even prefer a Pizza Pop over a Hot Pocket if I want to put pizza-flavoured garbage in my mouth.

Okay, sure, Smarties are way better than M&Ms, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Oh, crap. I just realized while researching this column that Nestlé owns Häagen Dazs. I guess I have to find someone who makes a really good ice cream on a stick with a ribbon of salted caramel in the middle.

But I can probably do that, and when I do, it’ll likely be less expensive – in more ways than just how much comes out of the bank account when I tap my card at the front of the store.