Monday, March 31, 2008

Ethical consumerism article in The Guardian

There is an article on The Guardian website today by Cath Elliott about ethical consumerism, which refers to the Nestlé boycott. You can find it here:

Here is the section on the boycott, with the links as on the original: "I also try not to eat or drink any Nestlé products; this is because despite years of protests and boycotts, the company still refuses to abide by the International code of marketing of breast milk substitutes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that some 1.5 million children die each year in the developing world because they are not adequately breastfed, and yet Nestlé continues to market baby milk formula in countries where access to clean water supplies cannot be guaranteed, and where bottle feeding is tantamount to a death sentence."

Feel free to join the debate this has prompted. I have posted the following comment:

The support for the Nestle boycott is much appreciated. The boycott keeps Nestle's pushing of baby milk in the public eye (as has just been demonstrated) and has helped lead to changes in company policies and marketing practices.

Baby Milk Action and our partners have had a lot of success in working for legislation implementing marketing requirements adopted by the World Health Assembly, the world's highest health policy setting body. Where companies have no choice they can comply with these measures. They are not being asked to do something that is impossible.

But where they can get away with it they push formula, undermining breastfeeding and contributing to needless death and suffering of babies. For those parents and carers that do use formula, they do not provide the information they need to reduce risks.

We are currently exposing Nestle's advertising of infant formula in South Africa, which Nestle is attempting to defend, despite the fact its own policy says it does not advertise formula in developing countries. See an example of its shelf talker for retail outlets and take our quiz at:

The latest global monitoring report produced with our partners has results from 67 countries and shows Nestle to be the worst of the companies, which is why it is singled out for boycott action. Nestlé responds with PR campaigns and recently took a group of MPs on a jolly to South Africa, one of whom is now vocally defending Nestle's advertising of infant formula there, despite the fact Nestle has been told such practices breach the marketing code and despite the fact they are illegal in the MPs own constituency. See:

Nestle's latest PR offensive, its 'Shared Value' report, has received criticism from campaigners working on this and other issues. Rather than acting to change its practices, Nestle invests in trying to divert criticism. The boycott is an essential tool to increase the financial cost to Nestle of its abuse of human rights. Find out more on the Baby Milk Action website, where this response to the 'Shared Value' report can be found:

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