Monday, 2 May 2011
CASE 271 - Nestlé
Nestlé S.A. is one of the largest food and nutrition companies in the world, founded and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. Nestlé originated in a 1905 merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, which was established in 1866 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and the Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé Company, which was founded in 1866 by Henri Nestlé. The company grew significantly during the First World War and following the Second World War, eventually expanding its offerings beyond its early condensed milk and infant formula products. Today, the company operates in 86 countries around the world and employs nearly 283,000 people. Nestlé has 6,000 brands, with a wide range of products across a number of markets including coffee (Nescafé), bottled water, other beverages (including Aero (chocolate) & Skinny Cow), chocolate, ice cream, infant foods, performance and healthcare nutrition, seasonings, frozen and refrigerated foods, confectionery and pet food. They are also major funders and supporters of Israel
In order to sell more of its infant formula in third world countries, Nestle would hire women with no special training and dress them up as nurses to give out free samples of Nestle formula. The free samples lasted long enough for the mother's breast milk to dry up from lack of use. Then mothers would be forced to purchase the formula but, being poor, they would often mix the formula with unsanitary water or 'stretch' the amount of formula by diluting it with more water than recommended. The result was that babies starved all over the Third World while Nestle made huge profits from this predatory marketing strategy. In 1977, a world-wide boycott was launched against the Nestle Corporation, which was found to be the most unethical of the several companies selling baby formula at the time. Consumers all across the world stopped purchasing Nestle products. The World Health Organization drafted the International Code on the Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, which was signed by much of the world in the early '80's and finally by the United States in 1994. After a brief hiatus the Nestle boycott was relaunched in 1988 and continues to this day. A recent report called "Cracking the Code" outlines the many present-day violations of the W.H.O. code.
What you can do
Nestle, is the world's largest baby food company and increases it's profits by promoting artificial infant feeding in violation of the W.H.O. code that has been signed by the US and many other nations. Nestle knows that once a bottle has become between a mother and her child breastfeeding is more likely to fail and the company has gained a customer. Because of Nestle's continued disrespect for the International Code and infant health the best thing you can do is stop purchasing Nestle products.
Palm oil use
Rapid deforestation in Borneo and other regions to harvest hardwood and make way for oil palm plantations sends massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In particular, where peat swamp forests are cleared, destroying the habitat for many threatened species of animals such as the orangutan, much public attention has been given to the environmental impact of palm oil and the role of multi-nationals such as Nestlé in this. There is ongoing concern by various NGOs including Greenpeace.
Nestlé were met with "a deluge of criticism from consumers, after a large number of Facebook users posted negative comments about the company's business practises." Nestlé's attempt to engage with the issue were met with criticism, including headlines stating: "Nestlé fails at social media", and "Nestlé Loses Face On Facebook". Nestlé Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, in answer to a question from Greenpeace, told the Company’s Annual General Meeting in Lausanne on April 15, 2010 that in 2009 Nestlé used 320,000 tonnes of palm oil worldwide, comparing this with the 500,000 tonnes of palm oil used for biodiesel in Germany and Italy alone. In May 2010 Nestlé said it was inviting The Forest Trust, a not-for-profit group, to audit its supply chain and promised to cancel contracts with any firm found to be chopping down rainforests to produce the palm oil which it uses in KitKat, Aero and Quality Street. Greenpeace welcomed the agreement promising to monitor it closely.