The Swiss government is about to appoint Christian Frutiger, Nestlé’s current global head of public affairs, as vice-president of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The SDC is responsible for development aid projects in other countries; Frutiger’s responsibilities as vice-president would include SDC’s water program.
As Nestlé’s head of public affairs, Christian Frutiger regularly ignores Nestlé’s water overexploitation in its bottling facilities and installations around the world. He has never publicly addressed the problems with Nestlé water takings in France, Canada, or in the United States. If Nestlé’s head of public affairs can ignore problems with his company in developed countries with well-established democratic traditions, what might happen in less developed, institutionally more fragile countries?
Switzerland has one of the best public sanitation and water distribution services in the world. But the government is using citizens’ tax money to support water privatization in other countries through the SDC partnership with Nestlé. For example, the SDC supported the creation of the Water Resources Group, a global initiative including Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Pepsi that promotes privatized water around the world.
In 2013, Nestlé was convicted of spying on ATTAC, a Swiss grassroots group critical of Nestlé. From 2002 to 2005, Nestlé hired a Swiss security company to infiltrate the group.
Christian Frutiger, then Nestlé’s public affairs manager, played a key role in minimizing the impact on the company’s image after a Swiss court determined its guilt. Frutiger’s willingness to defend Nestlé’s spying disqualifies him from leading international development aid or water projects.
Further, Christian Frutiger’s loyal service to Nestlé strongly suggests that as SDC vice-president he would willingly serve the agency’s goal to deepen and extend water privatization.
To control water is to control a society. Control of public water by private corporations is dangerous to the common good. We must remain vigilant and well organized to defend our waters, our Earth and our society from corporate control.
The SDC should support public water services – the Swiss model – in other countries, and oppose public-private partnerships and other forms of privatization.
Don’t let Christian Frutiger’s appointment go unchallenged! Sign the petition to demand that Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis revoke Frutiger’s appointment as vice-president of the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC).