Last updated: October 2015

 

Nestle boycott profile


The boycott of Nestlé is the world’s longest running. It began in 1977 in response to the aggressive marketing of Nestlé baby milk formula in poorer countries.

Nestlé is now one of the most boycotted brands in the UK.

 

Breaking the rules

Monitoring conducted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) finds the company to be responsible for more violations of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for baby foods than any other company.

It quotes UNICEF, "Marketing practices that undermine breastfeeding are potentially hazardous wherever they are pursued: in the developing world, WHO estimates that some 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. These facts are not in dispute."

IBFAN say the boycott will continue until Nestlé accepts and complies with its four-point plan for saving infant lives and ultimately ending the boycott.

 

Contact: Baby Milk Action, 23 St Andrews St, Cambridge CB2 3AX, 01223 464420

 

See Ethical Consumers Buyers' Guide to babymilk for more information

 

Let Nestle know you are boycotting them:

 

 

 

 

Here is an up-to-date list of all Nestlé’s UK brands.: 




Nescafé coffee
Alta Rica
Black Gold   
Expresso   
Fine Blend   
Gold Blend   
Partners Blend

 

*Cosmetics
Biotherm
Body Shop   
Cosmence
Garnier
Helena Rubenstein
Innéov   
La Roche-Posay
Lancôme   
L’Oréal   
Matrix   
Maybelline   
Metamorphosis   
Plénitude   
Redken

Pet Foods
Arthur’s
Bakers
BETA
Bonio
Felix   
Friskies   
Go-Cat   
Go-Dog Gourmet
One
Pro Plan
Purina   
Spiller’s
Vital Balance   
Winalot
.

Confectionery       
Aero   
After Eights
Animal Bar   
Baci Chocolate   
Black Magic   
Blue Riband   
Breakaway   
Caramac   
Dairy Box   
Dairy Crunch
Double Cream
Drifter   
Fruit Pastilles
Heaven   
Henri Nestlé           
Collection   
Jelly Tots   
KitKat – Fairtrade
Lion Bar   
Matchmakers   
Maxibon   
Milky Bar   
Munchies
Polo   
Quality Street   
Rolo   
Rowntrees
Smarties   
Toffee Crisp   
Toffo   
Tooty Frooties   
Walnut Whip   
Willy Wonka   
Yorkie

Bottled water
Aqua Panna
Aquarel
Buxton   
Contrex   
Perrier
Pow-wow   
San    Pellegrino
Santa Maria
Valvert   
Vittel

*Cereals
Cheerios
Golden Grahams   
Clusters
Cookie Crisp
Shreddies   
Fitnesse   
Force Flakes
Fruitful   
Golden Nuggets   
Nesquik    cereal
Shredded Wheat

Dairy products
Carnation
Coffee-Mate   
Munch Bunch yoghurts
Rowntree yoghurts and    ice    creams
Simply Double   
Ski    yogurts
Tip-Top  

Other drinks
Build-up   
Milo   
Nesquik   
Nestea

Processed meals
Buitoni pasta

canned foods
Herta   
Maggi

 

Items marked with an * are part-owned by Nestlé, such as    L’Oreal, Body Shop and Cereal Partners (a 50:50    joint venture with General Mills).   

For a full Nestlé brand list see http://info.babymilkaction.org/nestleboycottlist

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Brady from Baby Milk Action on the Boycott   

 

There is no food more locally produced or sustainable than breastmilk. A breastfed child is less likely to suffer from gastroenteritis, respiratory and ear infections, diabetes, allergies and other illnesses. In areas with unsafe water a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhoea.

Breastfeeding saves lives – and could save more. Estimates in 2013 suggested that 11.6% of under-five deaths could be prevented by breastfeeding. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says: “Globally, breastfeeding has the potential to prevent about 800,000 under-five deaths per year if all children 0-23 months were optimally breastfed.” Aggressive company sales of breastmilk substitutes led to a series of campaigns and boycotts in the 1970s.

 

Nestlé Boycott History 
 

The original Nestlé boycott in the 1970s led directly to the introduction of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes by the World Health Assembly in 1981. That should have led to an end to the problem, particularly after Nestlé promised to abide by the Code in 1984, and the boycott was suspended. However, Nestlé broke its promises and the boycott was re-launched in 1989.

The boycott also helps to alert policy makers to the need for legislation – and to be wary when Nestlé tries to persuade them it can be trusted to behave ethically without regulation. Today over 70 countries have legislation implementing the marketing rules that companies should follow. In some countries this is having a dramatic impact in protecting breastfeeding.        

 

Nestlé has stopped some of its more outrageous marketing strategies after these have been exposed by the boycott campaign. For example, it eventually promised, on 14 October 2014, to stop claiming its formula is the ‘natural start’ after we exposed this in our campaigning, including a twitter campaign during its prestigious ‘Creating Shared Value Global Forum’ the week before.
 

As well as Nescafé, high profile Nestlé brands include: Perrier and Buxton bottled waters, Rowntree’s confectionery, Buitoni pastas, L’Oréal cosmetics (see perfume guide), and 

Go-Cat and Winalot (see cat food guide).

 

Ongoing Violations

 

Nestlé continues to push baby milk in ways that undermine breastfeeding, contributing to the unnecessary death and suffering of babies. Problem marketing strategies are now being seen in the UK since Nestlé took over the SMA formula brand. It has recruited a network of ‘Clinical Representatives’ whose “role is to work on the designated territory, visiting hospitals, doctors, health visitors and community midwives to develop key clinical relationships within local health Economies, leading to opportunities for the SMA brand and Nestlé Nutrition.” 

Many health facilities prohibit company representatives from targeting staff, so Nestlé is holding its own ‘study days’ in nearby hotels and trying to entice staff along to those to promote SMA formulas. In August this year, Nestlé also began promoting the brand on street stalls at community festivals – providing an opportunity for demonstrations by Baby Milk Action supporters.

 

Nestlé’s response to criticism

 

Nestlé dismisses all criticisms, highlighting its inclusion in the FTSE4Good ethical investment index. The FTSE4Good criteria for marketing of breastmilk substitutes have been criticised by not only Baby Milk Action and IBFAN, but also Save the Children and UNICEF Lao. The Index, run by stock exchange listing company FTSE, assesses companies against their own policies, rather than the minimum UN marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly. 

By Nestlé’s own admission when questioned by Baby Milk Action at its shareholder meeting, 90% of violations of these standards are allowed by Nestlé’s own policies. The Methodist Church conference received a report from its ethics committee this year documenting that Nestlé actually weakened its marketing policy to allow the advertising of formula brands prior to being included in FTSE4Good, knowing this would be the benchmark. In other words, FTSE4Good has made things worse, not better.


 

Past boycotts

 

Anti-GMOs Network

Nestlé was the subject of a boycott call in Thailand by the Anti-GMOs Network. The Network had been calling on the company to adopt a GM-free policy in Thailand, accusing it of double standards (compared to Euope) and of conspiring to promote GM products with other companies.

 

Grandmothers for Peace International

Earth Island Journal reported in Autumn 1998 that during the summer of 1998, Nestle introduced a chocolate bar called "Nuclear Chocolate" to promote the film Armageddon. The bar was described as a "chocolate chain reaction" and prompted Grandmothers for Peace International to call a boycott. The campaigners argued that the confectionery product was "part of an effort to make our kids feel good about nuclear weapons, nuclear fallout and nuclear waste".

 

Pure Food Campaign

According to Co-op America Quarterly, in 1997 the US-based Pure Food Campaign launched a number of boycotts of products made by companies which said they were not opposed to the use of genetically altered crops. They included Nestle (soy-based) Crunch Bars.

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