Sunday, November 27, 2011
A question for members of the United Reformed Church
We have received shocking news from the United Reformed Church (URC) Secretary for Church and Society.
In July 2010 the URC Assembly renewed its long-running support for the Nestlé boycott until such time as Nestlé stops violating the international baby food marketing requirements.
The Resolution referenced inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index, an ethical investment listing from FTSE, as the criteria for ending support for the boycott.
Nestlé was included in the Index in March 2011 after the FTSE4Good criteria were changed in September 2010 - that is, after the URC Assembly Resolution - to allow companies that violate the marketing requirements into the Index. The stated aim was to weaken the criteria to bring half of the baby food sector into the Index on the grounds this would make it easier to engage with the companies.
Given this development, we expected the matter to go back to the URC Assembly so it could review the Resolution as the situation had changed. Nestlé would not have been included in the Index under the criteria in place at the time of the Resolution. It is not its marketing practices that have changed, but the FTSE4Good criteria.
Instead, URC Church and Society told us the Resolution was binding and had to be implemented as a matter of urgency.
Our press release regarding this shocking news can be found - along with a chronology of events - at:
It is for URC members to decide whether to take any action over this matter - we have to concentrate on assisting our partners in developing countries, particularly as Nestlé will undoubtedly the exploit the URC announcement to undermine efforts to stop its ongoing marketing malpractice.
I would be interested in the views of URC members, however, particularly those who supported the July 2010 Resolution. Was it the intention of members to end support for the boycott if FTSE weakened the FTSE4Good criteria?