Nestlé's big chance to Create Shared Value in California

Demonizing corporations is not a helpful tactic when it comes to fostering, building, and nurturing collaborations for social and environmental well-being. Corporations are powerful allies for change. Their supply chains span the globe, and when they choose to source responsibly and put money into ethical practices, the impact can be felt by millions. 

However, I couldn't help but notice some rather unfortunate timing on the part of Switzerland's most well-known food multinational, Nestlé.

California is in the throes of a multi-year drought. The state is parched. Wildfires rage. In the meantime, it produces a huge range of agricultural goods (including the notoriously thirsty almond, recently terrorized by bad press) for both national and international distribution and consumption.

Starbucks made the shrewd decision to move its bottling activities from California to Pennsylvania a few months ago. However, for some befuddling reason, Nestlé is carrying on.

This is an example of an opportunity for business to look good, support people and the environment, and do the right thing. Nestlé addresses the situation on its website, justifying its choice to continue bottling in the state. However, even if ceasing activities would make only the tiniest impact, as the company claims, that impact is an investment in the environment and people of California. That impact is a gesture of respect. Unfortunately for Nestlé, not withdrawing just looks bad. 

Continuing to bottle water in California is also a missed opportunity for Nestlé to stand by their Creating Shared Value principles, of which responsible water stewardship is a central pillar. Moving would be a chance for the company to "practice what they preach"

Nestlé - take this chance to do good (and look good).