Sometimes a company can issue a reactive statement – like Nestlé did upon the launch of our Kit Kat campaign – that appears to wrap up everything for which they are being criticised in a neat little package, when in reality nothing changes. In this case Nestlé's neat little package definitely stinks – and nobody's buying it.
Nestlé announced it would cancel contracts with Sinar Mas, the largest palm oil producer in Indonesia, after we released a report exposing Sinar Mas' involvement in illegal rainforest and peatland destruction to make way for their palm oil plantations. The report was released the same day as our 'Have a break?' video. The statement Nestlé made in reaction was not only nothing new – it won't be anywhere near enough to protect Indonesia's rainforests, orang-utans or peatlands. But they're acting as if they've done enough - and luckily they don't seem to be fooling anyone.
Since their statement Nestlé's Facebook page has remained the site of six straight days of people's frustration, criticism and in some cases – outright disgust with this company's lack of real action. When I took a quick look just now – it wasn't showing any signs of slowing.
We launched this campaign with a controversial video (you may have seen it – Kit Kat bar, orang-utan finger, crunching noise, blood, etc) to bring attention to the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests for palm oil. Well – since day one the campaign has taken off online in a manner - and at a pace - that we could never have predicted.
Things really got started with the removal of the original 'Have a break?' video from YouTube at Nestlé's request when it had only reached around 17.000 views. We rushed to get other versions up in what the Globe and Mail referred to as “a global game of Whack-a-Mole” and the replacements - the main one on Vimeo and a few versions uploaded back onto YouTube by supporters - then proceeded to rack up 180.000 views in just 24 hours. So began the 'Kitkatastrophe' or 'Kat Fight' - in the words of The Sun and Forbes respectively. But it wasn't over.
People began leaving comments on Nestlé's Facebook page – some of whom had already replaced their profile photos with our 'Killer' logo or other altered versions of the Nestlé logos they'd made themselves. The reaction of the page administrator has been documented by every public relations, marketing, social media, or brand management blog out there as a prime example of how not to manage your brand image on social networks. A few snarky comments and the threat of deleting anyone using altered logos turned a Facebook fan page into the online equivalent of a protest march.
It has been amazing to witness.
Posted by Vickie on Nestlé's page with the message -
"I'm such a big fan I made this artwork for you.
I hope you like it. It is a rights & royalty free image
- it can be used by anyone in any context."
It really shows you what informed and concerned people can do with social media. They can silence a huge corporation like Nestlé. Or at least – stop it from even attempting to justify itself on its own Facebook page.
This is good – because the planet needs informed and concerned people to keep doing just what they're doing: protesting. Protesting until we get the result that will earn a break for Indonesia's rainforests.
Nestlé's flaunting of its goal of phasing palm oil from forest destruction out of its supply chain by 2015, is nowhere near enough. 2015 will be too late. It will be too late for Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands - and the people and animals who depend on them. It will be too late for our climate – 1/5 of the world's total carbon emissions causing climate change are a result of deforestation. It will be too late for our planet and too late for us. It should be too late for Nestlé.
We still have far to go – and that is why it is so encouraging to see that people are not letting up on Nestlé's Facebook page. Nestlé doesn't deserve a break until it sets an example for the industry by removing all palm oil coming from forest destruction from its supply chain.
Even if Nestlé is no longer talking on its own Facebook page, hopefully it's listening.
>>Share on Facebook