Mon, 23 Dec 2002 13:40:32 GMT

Nestle has a long and proud history of regularly shooting itself in the foot.

It’s most virulent opponents have seized Nestle’s attempts to aggressively market infant food in the third world and turned it into a global lobby.

There are many strategies for dealing with Non-Govermental Organizations (NGOs) but I don’t think making ridiculous financial claims on disadvantaged countries would be one of the first to jump to mind for more PR people.

But that’s just what Nestle is doing. It is demanding a payment of $6 million from Ethiopia for the nationalization of one of its subsidiaries back in 1986.

Ethiopia is on the brink of another savage famine. Nestle is a wealthy, multi-billion dollar, global conglomerate. Anyone see the disparity.

Not content with hurting their reputation through this claim, Nestle are now saying it’s a point of principle!!!! To put this all in perspective, according to a CNN report, the average person in Ethiopia makes less than $2 a day, while the Swiss giant makes about $6 million every hour.

There’s some great content on the web around this, check out CNN for the latest news. And the UK Guardian has two excellent pieces looking at this disaster from a PR perspective. They are written by journlist Julia Day and a second story from PR-consultant Mark Borkowski.