Why I’m Boycotting Caffè Nero


I hope you’re as disgusted as I am by the Caffè Nero chain’s craven capitulation to the animal rights activists who have successfully demanded it no longer serve milk which comes from dairy farms in areas affected by the badger cull.

We hear a lot – too much – about Corporate and Social Responsibility these days. Well if the Caffè Nero chain are serious about their duties in this regard, surely one of the things they should NOT be doing is sending a signal to society that animal rights terrorism wins.

That’s why I’m supporting the #nomorenero boycott being organised on Twitter.

All right, so it’s probably not going to be a great hardship – you get a much better flat white at Costa.

But there are, nonetheless, I believe, important principles at stake here.

The ban was apparently instituted after two activists calling themselves Steve and Rose emailed Caffè Nero’s chairman Gerry Ford asking where the firm sourced its milk.

On Friday the company replied with this message: ‘Caffè Nero has instructed its partners supplying to stores which are situated around the cull zone areas to supply milk from farms outside of the zone.

‘We appreciate that this is an issue of concern for some members of the public.’

I think what really sticks in my craw here is that last phrase. It’s a formula you often see trotted out by corporations striving to cover their arses on sensitive issues, presumably because they think its fence-sitting blandness lets them off the hook. But it doesn’t – or at least it shouldn’t – because what it does is suggest that there is a kind of moral parity here between the very tiny minority who believe that the badger cull is so important as to merit threats, blackmail and the destruction of farmers’ livelihoods and the vast majority who think nothing of the kind.

Why should that tiny minority – and the same applies to, say, Islamist sales assistants who believe it ought to be up to them whether or not they serve customers alcohol in supermarkets – be indulged in prejudices which conflict with the freedoms of the majority?

And isn’t it worrying the way that corporations and governments alike appear increasingly to be in thrall to the whims of noisy few (whether via Greenpeace campaigns or Change.org or on Twitter) at the expense of the many?

Time we sent out a message to those corporate cowards who would sell our interests down the river just to buy themselves an easy life. Remember #nomorenero.