UPDATE: The Own Nestle Project has officially been launched. Check it out here : www.ownnestle.org
I would definitely NOT buy a K car. I would probably build that tree fort though and as it happens, in the 20-odd years since the Barenaked Ladies wrote that song they have in fact developed pre-wrapped bacon. But I wouldn’t buy that either…
A very nice-looking couple in Britain has just won the British pound equivalent of $200 million Canadian dollars in a lottery. Holy moly is all I can say to that. One of my absolute favourite pastimes is to play the what-would-I-do-if-I-won-the-lottery game. Renting out Richard Branson’s Necker Island has always factored quite highly on my post-jackpot to-do list. But there’s something else I would do that may surprise the heck out of you.
I would buy as many shares of Nestle stock as legally possible.
You’re probably as confused as heck right now since I’m all up in the breastfeeding (or, if you didn’t know that, check here, here and here), so let me explain: I would buy as many shares of Nestle as I could and use my voting power to run those suckers into the ground!
At today’s share price, $200 Million could technically get me 3,278,000 shares which, according to Nestle investor relations would amount to a whopping 0.1% of the company. It wouldn’t get me control, but it certainly would get me a voice. I could advocate for a corporate policy of following the WHO Code. I could sabotage their sabotaging of infant health.
And guess what else I could do with my shares? I could give the $6.2 million in dividends I’d get every year to IBFAN or some other breastfeeding protection organization. That’s 6 million bucks worth of mama-milk marketing, 6 million bucks of lobbying, 6 million bucks of hardballs to throw back at Nestle each and every year. And every penny of it they would cough up themselves. And that’s just this year. Over the last decade, Nestle has increased it’s dividend 600%*. So today’s $6 million could be $36 million in another decade. Of course, as a shareholder I’d get to vote for dividend changes, so I’d vote for the highest dividend possible.
But, I’m not the one who won the $200 million lottery, so I can’t do that, exactly. But what if I bought a couple of shares? And what if you bought a couple of shares? In fact, what if we set up a non-profit specifically designed to Own Nestle shares and put those dividends to work?
Lots of us in the breastfeeding community are already familiar with or even participate in the NoNestle boycott, but frankly, that’s been going on for decades and Nestle’s artificial baby milk sales are still growing. I think it’s time for a different kind of direct action. It’s time to not just cut off their profits, but to actually take their profits. It’s time to OWN NESTLE.
What do you think, who wants to OWN NESTLE with me??
*My numbers are in US dollars, so some of that increase is actually due to currency conversion