The BlogHer ’10 / Nestle sponsorship dilemma

In case you haven’t yet heard/read about what’s going on with the BlogHer ’10 Conference and Nestle (Stouffer’s – one of the many, MANY brands Nestle owns) sponsorship, you might want to check out the posts below:

Due to the news about the Nestle (Stouffer’s) sponsorship – they are one of about 80 companies sponsoring the BlogHer conference this year – I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do about it (whether or not I will attend). I’ve thought a lot about this and gone back and forth on my decision probably 30 times now. Just when I think I’ve made up my mind one way or the other, I read something or talk to someone and I change it. I wish it were a black and white decision, but the more I think about it the more I see there really are several shades of gray here. So for now I’m not saying what I’m doing (because I really just. don’t. know.), but I do want others to be aware of what’s going on so that they may make informed choices on whether or not they want to attend the conference, learn more about Nestle’s unethical business and marketing practices, join the Nestle boycott, read about the infamous #Nestlefamily Twitter-storm of 2009, etc.

Remember, knowledge is power. 🙂

If you’ve blogged your thoughts about BlogHer and the Nestle sponsorship, please leave a link with the URL in the comments and I will add your post to the list. Thank you!

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15 thoughts on “The BlogHer ’10 / Nestle sponsorship dilemma”

  1. Whatever you decide, I know it will be the right decision for you, and it will be a very thoughtful decision.

    For me, it came down to what I felt I could live with more. I thought about down the road, which decision would I regret more- going or not? Since I’ve never been, I don’t really know what I am missing, but knowing that the possibility would be out there I could lose credibility, was enough of a factor- I can live with not going to BlogHer one more year. It would be harder to live with my blog possibly being discredited.

    Another question I asked myself was who or what will benefit / possibly suffer if you go, or don’t go? Again, since I don’t know firsthand how much BlogHer could benefit me or others. In part, I decided it would be benefiting BlogHer and reinforcing the idea it doesn’t matter what companies they accept as sponsors.

  2. Oy.
    I’ve been under my own rock so hadn’t heard about the “controversy.”

    My heart goes out to those who face the dilemma of having to either attend knowing that, in part, the conference is receiving sponsorship dollars from a company they are actively boycotting – or to skip it on that basis and lose out on both the investment and the opportunity.

    Honestly? I don’t have any issues with it myself. I’ve been to Stouffer’s and seen some of the amazing things they do to support families and try to make it easier for them to succeed. That Stouffer’s is part of Nestle’s financially? Well, it’s a 21st century thing. Too many companies are the size of countries – it’s like being angry at California because of something New York is doing.

    I hope you find your way. I’ll be supportive of you either way – but I hope to see you in NYC for purely selfish reasons! 🙂

  3. I HATE that you have to be in this predicament. I have to say that I don’t like seeing the dancing around some people are doing- where in the past they would have been downright vehement against Nestle but now that it involves something they wanted to do or go to like BlogHer, I feel like people are trying to justify why they SHOULD go, but I am not so sure they even believe it themselves.

    It’s so unfortunate. And I have to admit, it has made me think A LOT because honestly I’ve never even given a thought (in the past) about who the sponsors are of conferences I’ve attended. This whole BlogHer thing makes my head hurt and I’m not even going!


  4. I also HATE how harsh I sound in that comment.

    I guess I saw a lot of people- who probably aren’t as invested Nestle practices as you and some others- play on whatever team was popular at the time- whether during the Nestle Family thing or now BlogHer. And they’ll spin it to their benefit, not to their beliefs.

    I have not boycotted Nestle completely in the past because I really didn’t understand it fully, but now, especially after all you & Annie have showed me, I am doing my darn best to not buy anything Nestle. I already wasn’t going to BlogHer, so this wasn’t an issue for me about attending, and like I said before, I have never given a thought to sponsors when attending conferences. But, when attending a blog trip or accepting advertising on my blog, I always do background checks.

    So, partly I feel like my opinion shouldn’t matter here because I don’t understand the extent of it. For you, you write for BlogHer, so it’s a different decision that for many others. If I put myself in a similar position, if I knew a vaccine manufacturer like Merck was a big sponsor of any conference, I probably would have major hesitation and would like to think I would not even think about attending. But, until I am in that situation, I just don’t know.


  5. I don’t buy Nestle. And I am glad I am not in this position.

    At the same time, you can put on an activism action at the conference and have WAY more influence and impact on them being there than anything you could say here.

    Maybe everyone collects all the shwag they might have and brings it to their table with all of the reasons you all don’t support Nestle.

    Maybe you type up a letter and get everyone at the conference to sign it about why Nestle has such a negative impact on families who don’t have a voice or knowledge.

    There are a million ways you can turn this into something bigger. Your voice on a blog that is successful is equally important.

    But if you do go. You must make a statement against Nestle somehow…
    t-shirts anyone?

    Good luck!


  6. I boycott Nestle, but I’m not sure what I would do in your situation. I think the fact that the sponsors are only disclosed months after you’ve purchased your ticket complicates things. It’s not like you can make a fully informed decision up front.

    As it is, I am not attending this year because I don’t feel ready to be away from my nursing toddler overnight. I am only hoping that by the time I am ready to attend, in a year or so, BlogHer will have reconsidered accepting Nestle sponsorship.

  7. Forgive yourself and go.

    Boycotts rarely work and because of the way big businesses control our lives, I’d be very surprised if you’re completely Nestle free anyway.

    It’s like boycotting BP, you will only hurt the small business owners who purchased franchises. I’m calling for a lawsuit on that one, United States vs. BP

    What about a bigger stand as in getting the press involved in this issue? I bet someone would be willing to give you and other boycotters some positive press for the dilemma. (and negative for Nestle)

  8. Has it ever occurred to you that Nestle perhaps saves lives in third world countries? Malnourished women just can´t produce adequate milk for their babies. Formula that is given to them by health authorities does a great part in helping develop healthy babies.

    You don´t have an idea what living in a third world country is. You just sit in your ass in your comfy developed world home and judge from afar, don´t you?

    Please DO NOT boycott one of the companies that does a good job in helping those malnourished babies.

  9. @Gaby – What you said is so very different than what the majority of mainstream and respected doctors and scientists believe that I’m not even sure where to begin. A simple Google search would tell you that what you say here simply is not correct. It isn’t even a matter of opinion, it is just wrong.

    Most malnourished women can still lactate and produce good milk. That’s just a fact.

    And even if it were true, the more cost-effective, humane, and medically-sound solution would be to get food to mothers to they can lactate, not to give them formula that they will later have to buy at great cost, prepare with unclean water, and then cut with too much of that unclean water when they cannot afford enough formula.

    Yes, formula can save lives for babies who have no access to breastmilk but that has nothing to do with Nestle’s marketing practices…or its sourcing cocoa from plantations using slave labor.

    You are also making ridiculous assumptions about Amy and other anti-Nestle protestors, some of whom have worked or volunteered in 3rd world countries and almost all of whom are active volunteers in one way or another.

    This isn’t about privileged women saying “breast is best” (a woman’s choice how to feed her child is her own) — it is about misleading, unethical, and in some cases illegal marketing practices, illegally sourcing milk from a horrible dictator, and the use of slave labor.

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