Cybher, collective bias and my conscience.

Cybher 2013

I thought until a week or so back that I wasn’t going to make it to Cybher this year. I’d put a few very tentative calls out for a sponsor, but got no bites, and couldn’t quite see how I could afford it otherwise. And then there was this little post from Chris over at Thinly Spread about how the newest network on the scene, Collective Bias, and their links with Nestle.


I’ve done a collective bias shop. I had seen that they work with Nestle in the states, but to be honest, even though I’m a long term Nestle boycotter, having written about it here and there in the past, I’ve come to the conclusion that boycotting like this doesn’t work. And as I wrote on In the Powderroom, I think we need to do things that change behaviour. (Which doesn’t mean that I give Nestle my money. I absolutely don’t. But it’s getting harder and harder to find alternatives which aren’t Nestle under the covers, have you noticed that?)

So when Jo came back on the concerns with Collective Bias, I waited to hear what she had to say about it before I made a decision. And when she said that they won’t be working with Nestle in this country as a result of the strength of feeling from bloggers here, I decided that was enough to keep me interested and working with them.

And I’m going to Cybher. With Collective Bias. I’m hoping that as a result of my association with them I can get talking with them and maybe push a bit of our feeling about Nestle and so on back into the states, because let’s face it, it’s countries like that that actually make the difference. They have the buying power, and the numbers, and if they turned around to corporations like Nestle and said no more, that would make a real difference.

It’s not enough to just say no. I think we have to make conversations, make bridges, make connections and then make changes through them. Show people different ways. Explain what we are doing and how and why. Yes, by all means, each of us has to choose what fits with our conscience and do that, but I think we also have to challenge our consciences and each other to push the boundaries out a little further and do more each day.

Does that make any sense? Do you agree with me? Or are you quite happy to buy Nestle anyway and can’t quite see what the fuss is all about? Thoughts in the usual place please.

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

Oh, and if you'd like to support my artistic endeavours, shop my photographs and art at redbubble


  1. Tamasin McGregorTamiemcg says:

    Just commenting to let you know …it’s not your blog people can’t be bothered to comment is the form filling and email address that is needed to post a comment…yawwwwwn.

    • Jax Blunt says:

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know that. But if you don’t put your name in, I won’t know who it was? And the email thing is supposed to stop spammers I think.

  2. Thank you for that, I was aware there was some discussion about nestle/ collective bias but didn’t know what the issues were, so it was helpful to read your post. Not sure what I think. I try not to buy nestle products and any association with nestle is offputting, but I understand your point about wanting to build bridges and get your views across. I am glad you are coming to cybher anyway ūüôā

  3. When I was a teen, enthusiastically boycotting KitKats and Nescaf, I never imagined I’d still be doing it twenty years on. I agree, it hasn’t made a noticeable difference. And I couldn’t promise never to have indulged in a KitKat since, either.

    Plus when my friends in Mozambique found themselves responsible for a set of 3 week old twins who had lost their mother, there was reason to be very grateful for the fact that Nestl√© had created a baby milk market in Africa, even if their methods remain reprehensible. It’s all a bit less black and white than it used to be.

    I don’t have the answer. I suspect the answer is legislative. They shouldn’t be able to get away with lying to people about what’s best for them. Informed choice doesn’t come from misinformation. I probably think that our focus (as the West, I mean) should be in supporting developing countries to be strong enough to control those sorts of activities, the way they would be controlled here (insofar as they are, which is a whole other discussion).

    I happened to watch Bono’s TED talk the other day. Bono remains unspeakably irritating, but he raises some very interesting stuff about evidence-based policy, and the fact that aid has, in fact, made a huge difference to the long-term future of some of Africa’s pest countries, in terms of preventable disease, infant mortality, extreme poverty, etc. Maybe boycotting dormy work, but other things do?

    (Still not buying Nescaf, though. And only a very occasional KitKat.)

  4. Just wondering if you’ve tried apps like Buycott ? not sure how well it works in the UK but it seems like a good idea, and if it doesn’t work that well in the UK (it was originally made for the US) I’m sure it’s just a matter of the info not being added to their databases, but it seems at least to be an app that can help with keeping your shopping ethical, and goes some way to helping show which corporation owns what products.

  5. Excellent post. I’ve been reading this debate with interest, and it has prompted me to look at the list of companies that Nestle has a stake in. I was pretty horrified to spot The Body Shop on the list! It just goes to show how hard it is to completely avoid Nestle!

    Collective Bias do seem to be recognizing how strongly we Brits feel about Nestle’s practices. So when I go to Cybher I will listen to what Collective Bias have to offer.

  6. I think you know that I’s always a fan of the white-haired radical approach to life; change from within. Until I blogged there were a lot of things I was pretty ignorant about, and, as a now much-better-informed fellow blogger, I’d say engagement with the issue needs to be at least one of the strategies our marvellous community tries in an effort to bring about positivr change. Hats off! (Not at all envious of the fact that you have a sponsored ticket to Cybher, no, no, no, not me……!)

  7. Just a quick note in reply to the first comment about comments – my details are remembered in the form above so I don’t have to fill them in every time – they are there. I don’t know how I achieved this though.

  8. Michelle says:

    We haven’t been happy about Coca Cola taking over juice company Innocent. We loved their juice and their story but the lure of selling was too strong in the end. “On 6 April 2009, Innocent Drinks announced on its website an agreement to sell a stake of 10-20% to The Coca-Cola Company, with the three founders retaining operational control for ¬£30 million.[4] Their website was bombarded with customers and several pages on social networking sites have emerged that encourage a boycott of the company.[5] In April 2010, Coca-Cola increased its stake in the company to 58% from 18% for about ¬£65 million.[6] In February 2013 Coca-Cola increased their stake to over 90%, leaving the three founders with a small minority holding. [7]” from Wikipedia. Didn’t know they’d increased to over 90% till now.

  9. Michelle says:

    Oh and. I don’t consciously buy Nestl√©. But boycott sounds a bit extreme. I’d always rather buy independent, local, ethical, all those “nice” factors, where there’s a choice and the cost isn’t excessively high. Can’t think when I last bought Nestl√© though.

  10. Michelle says:

    Last and. ;-).

    Your penultimate paragraph is right but I feel uncomfortable saying why I do or don’t buy some things as can be a bit preachy and can make people sound as if they think they’re superior with their value set.

    Fine line to tread!

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