ITALY: Carnival of Fano dumps Nestlé products
The Board of Managers of the Carnival of Fano has announced that from 2002 onwards collaboration with Nestlé will be interrupted until the company shows that it respects the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly Resolutions.
Swiss food behemoth Nestlé is the target of an international boycott because of what campaigners label its "unethical and irresponsible marketing of baby foods, which endangers infant health".
Fano, a small town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, is famous for its Carnival and for having been designated by the UN as a "child friendly city".
Traditionally, during the Carnival contest, huge amounts of chocolates are thrown to the public from floats. The town council, through its Carnival Board of Managers, acquires the chocolates. For many years the chocolates have been purchased from Perugina, an Italian company fully owned by Nestlé since 1988.
In February 1997, some citizens in Fano set up a Group for an Ethical Carnival. The objective was to advocate with the town council and the board of managers in order to interrupt the contract with Nestlé and purchase fair trade chocolates.
The Group claimed that public funds collected with taxes could not be spent in contracts with such "an unethical company". It claimed as well that such contracts were not compatible with the designation as a "child friendly city".
The campaign has been conducted for four years, with articles on local newspapers, distribution of more than 12,000 leaflets and booklets, public meetings, radio interviews, non-violent occupations of the town council, a flood of messages on the guestbook of the Carnival website, individual letters to authorities and politicians. Members of the town council and of the Provincial Council in favour of the campaign voted several amendments to the local legislation to try to politically influence the decisions of the board of managers.
Eventually, on 24 December 2001, the chairman of the board of managers has informed the Group for an Ethical Carnival that it will no longer collaborate with Nestlé and that from the 2002 Carnival the chocolates will be acquired through fair trade organisations.
The prohibition to make deals with Nestlé will last until the company will be able to produce evidence of respect for the International Code.
The Carnival runs until 12 February 2002.
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