Greenpeace activists crash Nestlé Annual General Meeting with call to end plastic pollution
by Perry Wheeler
April 11, 2019
Lausanne, Switzerland, 11 April, 2019 — 20 Greenpeace Switzerland activists interrupted Nestlé’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) today by lining up in front of the shareholder audience, displaying banners that said “Nestlé stop single use” and “Nestlé, this is yours” while holding up the company’s throwaway plastic found polluting the world’s oceans. The activists then handed the plastic waste to the Nestlé executives and returned to their seats.
In speeches delivered at the event, Greenpeace and allies from the global Break Free From Plastic movement demanded that Nestlé end its reliance on single-use plastic, and invest immediately in alternative delivery systems based on refill and reuse to end this “environmental and social justice catastrophe.”
During the peaceful protest, Greenpeace International Executive Director, Jennifer Morgan, urged Nestlé executives and shareholders to show true leadership to solve the plastic pollution crisis:
“We are here with our allies, from the people-powered, growing and global Break Free From Plastic movement, to tell Nestlé we’ve had enough. People can see with their own eyes the damage plastic pollution is doing to our oceans, waterways and communities. We’ve all witnessed the way plastic is contaminating our precious biodiversity and are only just beginning to understand how it is impacting us.”
“Plastic pollution is an environmental catastrophe, and it is a visible symptom of a planetary sickness induced by an economy based on endless consumption and disposability at any cost. Last year Nestlé produced 1.7 million tonnes of plastic — 13% more than the year before — while claiming to take the plastic problem seriously. It’s time for Nestlé to really take some responsibility for the magnitude of its contribution to the problem: it must be transparent and put forward a concrete action plan, with ambitious timelines, on how to reduce the production of throwaway packaging and invest in truly sustainable refill and reuse delivery systems.”
A recent report published by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) found Nestlé to be the top source of branded plastic pollution in waste audits done in the Philippines, where communities have become dumping grounds via the global waste trade. Froilan Grate, GAIA Philippines Executive Director, also took the floor at the AGM to describe the plastic pollution crisis he witnesses in his community everyday:
“Plastic pollution might be very visible in the Philippines and other Asian countries, but the crisis started in your boardroom when you decided to sell products packed in single-use, non-recyclable plastic in places where there is no infrastructure to manage them. On behalf of my community, I am here to tell you we do not want your toxic plastic packaging anymore. It is choking our waterways, filling our landfills, destroying our communities and harming our health. It is time for you to take this crisis seriously, stop focusing on false solutions, and invest in new delivery systems to stop this crisis.”
Greenpeace is demanding that Nestlé and other multinational corporations be immediately transparent about their overall plastic usage and put forward concrete action plans with ambitious timelines for how they will reduce their reliance on single-use plastic and move beyond the throwaway culture.
Photos from the Nestlé AGM are available here.
Jennifer Morgan’s full speech can be read here.
 Nestlé was one of the top corporate plastic polluters identified in a worldwide cleanup and brand audit effort conducted by the Break Free From Plastic coalition last year. Full results here.
 A factsheet on Nestlé and plastic pollution is available here
 Greenpeace’s accompanying campaign video entitled “Nestlé’s Plastic Monster” is available here.