Monday, February 25, 2008

Some clarity on what is and what is not on our boycott list

Oh dear. I understand someone has linked to a past post of mine about who owns Lansinoh, incorrectly claiming we are calling for a boycott of this nipple cream because it is owned by a feeding bottle company that violates the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for these products.

I don't know how these things happen. The blog is about conflicts of interest in sponsorship of health workers and materials and suggests there needs to thought about the appropriateness of accepting funding from a company that violates the marketing requirements. You can read the blog here:

How that was read as a call for mothers who use nipple cream to stop doing so is a mystery. If you can shed any light, please let me know.

There is not even a boycott call on Pigeon, the owner of Lansinoh. Its malpractice is targeted by other means, such as the exposé on that earlier blog.

Nestlé is singled out for boycott action because it is the worst of the companies when it comes to violating the marketing requirements for baby foods.

But note well, the boycott does not target Nestlé formula, it targets other Nestlé products. In the UK, the primary focus is on Nescafé coffee, though we list all the products from which Nestlé profits - except the formula so boycott supporters can avoid them all if they wish.

The boycott, and all our work holding baby food companies to account, aims to compel companies to abide by the internationally-agreed marketing standards. We have a lot of success in achieving this. The marketing requirements exist to protect breastfeeding AND to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely if necessary.

So if the boycott is an effective campaigning strategy and is helping to save lives, why don't we include Nestlé formula on the boycott list? Because there may be times when Nestlé formula is all that is available for a child that has to be fed on formula and our primary concern is the well-being of children.

However much Nestlé tries to give a different impression, we are not calling for formula to be banned or boycotted, just for it to be marketed appropriately, which means in line with international standards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was involved in the message board discussion you are referring to. My impression was that it was understood your organisation were not calling for a boycott in this case but that other breastfeeding advocates had read your blog and had taken it upon themselves to make that decision independently. If you would like this spelt out on the website you visited today (where you found this discussion) I would be happy to do so. I can see how it seems confusing when someone links to your site to support an argument and therefore it appears you condone it. Apologies if my involvement in the discussion caused further confusion.