No to Nestle
Student’s looking for a Kit-Kt fix or a bottle of water to cure their hangover won’t be able to get either from the shelves of the Union until at least December. Proposals to bring back both the products have been rejected by the Better Union Forum.
Nestlé products were banned from Leeds University Union (LUU) in 2003 following a referendum, after questions were raised over the company’s ethical and environmental policies. The company is alleged to have supplied powdered baby milk to mothers in third world countries, leading to the deaths of thousands of children.
Powdered milk must be mixed with sterilized water, though instructions on the milk packaging were in English and sterilisation was often impossible, leading to babies ingesting contaminated water. The World Health Organisation recommends that mothers breastfeed babies for six months before progressing onto powdered milk. Nestlé has never issued an apology for its actions.
However the company has now passed various ethical inspections and Greenpeace has acknowledged its efforts to disassociate itself from companies linked to deforestation.
The proposal to reintroduce Nestlé argued that it was important for LUU to recognise the company’s progress. However, the argument was undermined when the student proposing the idea was discovered to have worked for Nestlé in the past. The idea fell with the student panel voting 15 to 1 against reintroducing Nestlé products.
Bottled water has not been sold in the Union since February last year, after students voted to have it removed from the shelves in 2009.
The reasoning behind the move was the price of producing bottled water which is 500 times more than tap water, as well as the environmental cost, with seven litres of water and a litre of oil going into producing one bottle.
The proposal was rejected by the student panel but only failed to be put to a referendum by one vote.
The Forum, held last Monday, also saw the formation of a support group for those with eating disorders, while LUU’s support for commercialised bar crawls will go to referendum.