Friday, February 09, 2007

Nestlé and the One World Trust report

A while ago I wrote about the way Nestlé was presenting its pretty poor evaluation in the Global Accountability Report 2006 prepared by the One World Trust as a positive rating for the company. Its presentation was selective. It did not mention that it was not listed amongst the 8 organisations scoring more than 50% in three of the four categories mentioned. It managed just over 50% in 2 categories. The quality of its information disclosure policy was rated as 0% (yes, zero percent). You can read more details and the report itself by going to:

The blog has attracted a comment from the One World Trust. I include it in full below:

---Rob Lloyd wrote:

Thanks mike for this posting and for interpreting the results of the 2006 Global Accountability Report exactly as they should be: an assessment of the extent to which organisations have the capabilities – policies and systems – at headquarters or the global office to foster accountability; not a measure of how accountable organisations are in practice.

As you note though, the issue of how policy translate into action is absolutely key. Nestle might make worthy commitments on paper, but do these translate into concrete practice? The Index team at the One World Trust are currently grappling with this issue and are developing a number of ways of assessing accountability in practice both at the global office and field levels and will be publishing a series of practice supplements to the 2006 Global Accountability Report later this year. We are also aiming to identify partner organisations that would use the Global Accountability Framework and methodology to undertake country-level assessments on how accountability commitments made in policies at the global level translate in the field at national levels.

We’ve also just completed accountability profiles for each of the 30 assessed organisations- including Nestle. These detail how each of the 30 organisations scored in the four dimensions of accountability - transparency, participation, evaluation, and complaints and response - and highlight some general areas that require improvement. You can download them here: Organisations

If you have any experience with engaging with any of the assessed organisations, please do take the time to note them down in the resources and comments part of the organisation’s profile. This will help build a more complete picture of their accountability.



This is a good offer. If relevant, please do add your experiences of Nestlé to the One World Trust site as we have done and as the International Labor Rights Fund has done over Nestlé's failure to act on child slavery in Ivory Coast.

I will include below the Conclusions of the Global Accountability Report on Nestlé, as Nestlé's selective representation of the evaluation does rather rely on people not reading the report. For example, while it is acknowledged that Nestlé is one of the few organisations to have an information disclosure policy, the quality of it is rated as 0% (zero percent). The single-product complaint mechanism referred to is for infant formula marketing - and we know how ineffective that is in practice!

The full entry on Nestlé is at:


Nestlé’s evaluation capabilities are the most developed dimension of their accountability, while their participation capabilities are the worst. With the exception of evaluation, Nestlé either does not have the necessary policies for fostering consistent implementation of accountability, or has policies that lack key good practice principles.

In transparency, Nestlé is one of the only companies to have developed an information disclosure policy. But the policy includes no good practice principles. To strengthen their capabilities for ensuring consistent public disclosure of information across the company Nestlé should identify narrowly defined conditions for non-disclosure and commit to responding to information requests within a defined period of time. In participation, Nestlé only make a general commitment to engaging with those outside the company through their Corporate Business Principles. They should go further and develop a detailed policy on external stakeholder engagement that identifies the conditions under which stakeholder can expect to be engaged in company decision-making and commits to incorporating stakeholder input into decision-making else providing an explanation. Furthermore, Nestlé needs to strengthen their complaints and response capabilities; the company needs to put in place a complaint mechanism that covers more than a single product and allows both internal and external stakeholder to submit complaints for issues of non-compliance in relation to all the company’s policies and practices.

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