The current Nestle Philippines Inc. chairman and CEO is John Martin Miller.
On September 22, 2005, leabor leader Diosdado Fortuna was gunned down by two armed men on board a motorcycle while on his way home to visit his ailing two-year old grandson. Fortuna was the president of the UFE affiliated with the Drug, Food and Allied Industries under Kilusang Mayo Uno (DFA-KMU).He was also the chairman of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU), chairman of Anakpawis Partylist in Southern Tagalog and co-chairman of the National Coalition for the Protection of Workers Rights – Southern Tagalog.
Prior to his killing, he was at the picketline speaking with supporters. Fortuna suffered two gunshot wounds, with one bullet piercing this heart and the other his liver.
According to reports, Fortuna was in the hit list of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) because of his active role in the trade union movement. Other union leaders have reported that he was under constant surveillance and harassment by the military and paid state security forces on the Nestle management payroll since the Cabuyao plant went on strike on January 14, 2002 over deadlock in the collective bargaining negotiations.
The Nestle management refused to implement the 2001 Supreme Court ruling on the inclusion of the workers’ retirement benefits in their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Nestle Philippines is also said to have bribed former labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas. During a trip to Switzerland for a labor conference in June 2001, the then labor secretary allegedly enjoyed limousine services that billed a total of 9,000 Swiss Francs or P316,000, courtesy of Nestle. Using documents provided by the Nestle-Union Filipro Employees, Beltran exposed in Congress that Nestle paid for Sto. Tomas’ chauffeur services and the Mercedes Benz for a trip to Geneva and Milan and back from June 15 to 16, 2001.
Beltran said that Sto. Tomas alleged acceptance of the bribe prejudiced her handling of the labor dispute at Nestle Philippines.
As of this writing, the labor dispute is ongoing.
An international controversy has also erupted over Nestle’s bottled water “Pure Life” because of how it is being manufactured and marketed.
The bottled water brand was launched in Pakistan in 1999. According to reports, the marketing strategy began with a series of “awareness seminars,” that were organized by Nestlé’s PR company. In the seminars, ranking government officials were tapped to say that that urban water supplies were contaminated. They also said that a bottled water brand then being sold in the market was tainted. According to Civil Society Magazine (April 2011), the involvement of Nestle in the seminars was not immediately discovered.
Soon after the seminars, it was said that Nestlé released its Pure Life sales campaign in the city of Karachi. Leaflets and samples were given out to the public backed by a billboard campaign with the slogan “Welcome to purity.” The Managing Director of the Lahore Water Supply Company was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying, “These foreign companies are misleading the people to make money.”
Civil Society Magazine continued in its report that after Pakistan, Nestlé launched Pure Life water in Brazil.
The company demineralized water from a spring in the water park in São Lourenço. Residents and environmental groups raised a protest, saying that Nestle’s operations adversely affected other springs. A mass petition was launched which prompted a civil public action by the public prosecutor. Nestlé eventually stopped bottling Pure Life in São Lourenço. The company was reported to have settled the case out of court after being ordered to provide compensation to the town by refurbishing the water park.
In 2010, Corporate Accountability International issued a statement in the immediate wake of Nestlé’s 2010 shareholder meeting. It said that sales of Nestlé bottled water are falling:
This past year, as more and more people joined the tens of thousands who have begun to question the value of bottled water, and as more communities began to challenge Nestlé’s attempts to gain control over water resources in their communities, Nestlé worked hard to convince individuals and communities that the company has turned over a new leaf, while also ensuring investors that the future viability of Nestlé’s bottled water business is sound. However, consumers and community groups aren’t buying Nestlé’s line, or their water, and even some investors are beginning to doubt that Nestlé’s bottled water business would be viable in a climate where more and more people are turning back to their public water systems and rejecting Nestlé and other bottlers’ efforts to sell them “old water in new bottles.”