Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ten facts Nestlé does not want you to know

I've flagged up our 'Ten Facts' leaflet before. It's something we run off quickly on the photocopier, tailored to specific events.

I'm off to London tonight to be able to pop along to the Ethical Corporation conference tomorrow, where Nestlé will be talking about its involvement in coffee. For my thoughts on that see yesterday's blog at:

Nestlé brings Corporate Social Responsibility into disrepute and my suggestion to Ethical Corporation was: "If there is genuine interest in changing corporate practices for the better, Nestlé misuse of CSR and its appalling record in so many areas needs to be addressed and I hope you will consider doing so."

Here are ten facts it is well worth knowing before deciding to give Nestlé a platform - unless the purpose of the event is to examine its unethical business practices.

1. Nestlé violates the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes more than any other company. The Code and other Resolutions were adopted by the World Health Assembly to ensure that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely if they are needed. UNICEF says: "Improved breastfeeding practices and reduction of artificial feeding could save an estimated 1.5 million children a year." (State of the World’s Children 2001).

2. The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) launched its Breaking the Rules monitoring report with documented examples of violations from 69 countries in May 2004. The report contains many examples of Nestlé’s aggressive promotion of formula and inappropriate marketing of baby foods.

3. Nestlé is not allowed to make direct or indirect contact with mothers, but does just that. For example, advertising visits of its ‘Baby-Care Friends’ in South Africa. At the end of 2005 Nestlé’s Chief Executive launched an initiative setting up ‘Nutrition Corners’ in stores in China to target pregnant and lacting women suggesting they need expensive supplements to breastfeed.

4. Nestlé has been successfully prosecuted for breaking national laws. For example, in Costa Rica it was fined after repeatedly ignoring calls from the authorities to change its labels.

5. A former employee in Pakistan, Syed Aamar Raza, has exposed corrupt practices, including bribing of doctors, implicating staff at the highest level of the company. Aamar says he was threatened when he raised this with managers.

6. At a European Parliament Public Hearing into Nestlé malpractice in Pakistan in November 2000 UNICEF’s Legal Officer commented that Nestlé’s Instructions are weaker than the Code and Resolutions. UNICEF has called on it to change them.

7. Nestlé (UK) leads the company’s public relations offensive on the baby milk issue. But it fails to convince, losing public debates with Baby Milk Action. Nestlé was voted the world’s ‘least responsible company’ in a global vote coinciding with the World Economic Forum in January 2005. Baby Milk Action has invited Nestlé to participate in a public tribunal with an in-depth examination and the chance to call expert witnesses. Nestlé has refused.

8. In May 1999 a ruling was published against Nestlé by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Nestlé claimed in an anti-boycott advertisement that it markets infant formula "ethically and responsibly". The ASA found that Nestlé could not support this nor other claims in the face of evidence provided by Baby Milk Action.

9. Nestlé attempts to divert criticism with reference to its Fairtrade coffee, the only one of its 8,500 products with the mark. But Nestlé continues to force down market prices for coffee and legal action has been brought against it in the US over child labour in its cocoa supply chain. Its Partners Blend coffee is such a token gesture that virtually 100% of its coffee suppliers remain outside the Fairtrade system.

10. Nestlé is the target of a boycott in 20 countries because of its unethical and irresponsible marketing of baby foods.

Nestlé makes a profit while others count the cost.

Click here to download the leaflet.

I haven't done a lot to publicise this leafleting - which is early morning - so it could just be me there tomorrow - but that can be enough to make an impact and expose Nestlé malpractice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do not trust Nestles marketing practices in third world or any where else for that matter countries. in support of their infant formulas I worked for them for 20 years. Infant formulas are extremely profitable. They know the implication of their practices in the third world. They just disguise what they do and continue on doing what they do best. there onlyconcern is profit and market share and I find them ruthless as they come.