Nestlé: Company Profile

Nestlé are know for producing a variety of sweets, drinks and cereals but also for being the target of the world's longest running boycott.

Read on to find out more about this and other ethical issues related to the company.

Last updated: October 2015

Annual Revenue$75.39 billion a year


Other BrandsOver 100


Company Score2 out of 20


Ethical Consumer Best Buy?No


Ethical issues by category

In 2015 Nestlé, as a customer of Cargill, were indirectly buying palm oil from the Malaysian palm oil grower Felda Global Venture’s plantations.

A Wall Street Journal investigation had been published in July 2015, exposing serious human rights and labour abuses on Felda's plantations including human trafficking, forced labor, and withholding of wages. Felda denied the allegations.

Felda had been members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil since 2004. A coalition of NGOs called on the RSPO, Malaysian Government and international buyers for an open investigation into The Wall Street Journal’s findings.

In June 2015 Nestlé received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for its Supply Chain Management.  

As of 2015 Nestle had an up-to-date report that showed a reasonable understanding of its key environmental impacts and presented more than two future quantified environmental reduction targets. The company received Ethical Consumer's best rating for its environmental reporting.

The group's 2014 'Nestle in Society' report was written and presented according to the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 guide.

Performance data was provided for water, raw material use, energy consumption, biodiversity, emissions, effluence and waste. All of these topics, in addition to sustainable agriculture were discussed in more detail.

A number of environmental reduction targets were presented and included:

  • By Dec 31st  2015 achieving zero waste for disposal in 10% of factories.
  • By Dec 31st 2015 reduce energy consumption per tonne of product in every product category to achieve an overall reduction of  25% since 2005.
  • By Dec 31st 2015 reduce direct water withdrawals per tonne of product in every product category to achieve an overall  reduction of 40%, with 2005 used as a baseline.

The report was independently assured by Bureau Veritas.

In 2015 Nestlé was accused of cruel animal experimentation by Cruelty Free International.

The experiments, conducted on dogs, mice, hamsters, rats and pigs, attempted to investigate the positive health benefits of the companies’ products and to identify potential benefits that could be marketed. 

The tests involved force feeding, irradiation, forcing animals to become obese and the surgical implantation of tubes. The animals were often killed at the end of experiments. Cruelty Free International maintained that these harmful and unnecessary experiments were motivated by a desire to be able to make health claims about the utility of certain products in solving health issues such as obesity in humans and our companion animals. 

In 2015 Nestle was found to be a member of several high profile international lobby groups.

These included:

The European Roundtable of Industrialists  Ethical Consumer considered the European Roundtable of Industrialist to be a high level corporate lobby group which exerted undue corporate influence, at the potential detriment of the environment and human and animal rights.

The World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum was a lobby group which campaigned for greater economic liberalisation and deregulation. Ethical Consumer considered the WEF to be a corporate lobby group which lobbied for free trade at the expense of the environment, animal welfare, human rights or health protection.

The International Chamber of Commerce. According to the ICC, it had "direct access to national governments all over the world through its national committees"; "speaks for world business when governments take up such issues as intellectual property rights, transport policy, trade law or the environment"; "At UN summits on sustainable development, financing for development and the information society, ICC spearheads the business contribution." Ethical Consumer noted that the activity of lobby groups such as the ICC often meant that business interests were protected at the expense of the environmental and human rights.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development. This was regarded by Ethical Consumer as an international corporate lobby group which exerted corporate influence on policy-makers in favour of market solutions that were potentially detrimental to the environment and human rights.

In-Depth Information

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