Nestle Annual Shareholder Meeting, Palais de Beaulieu, Lausanne, Switzerland
Press release: 15th April 2010
As Greenpeace activists cut through the ceiling and absailed into Shareholder Meeting with huge banners and leaflets, Nestlé was held to account for its exploitation of rainforests, for its spying activities and for its failure to abide by baby food marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly
Patti Rundall OBE, Policy Director at Baby Milk Action, picked up on the Chairman, Peter Brabeck’s remarks that Nestle considers regulations to be much less important than principles and core values and appealed for shareholders to help in holding management to account for the harm it continues to cause to breastfeeding and infant health, contributing as it does to the needless death and suffering of babies around the world. She highlighted the deception of the strategy that had been on display at the shareholder meeting the previous year: logos on formula labels claiming the product will ‘protect’ babies. It is undisputed that babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die.
She also challenged Nestle’s policy on sponsorship which targets mothers, health workers and children – for example, TV shows in Egypt, baby clubs in the Philippines, nutrition education schemes in India, websites, medical seminars etc – schemes which are in many instances in violation of World Health Assembly Resolutions and national legislation.
Nestlé Chair, Mr. Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, said that because Ms Rundall did not trust him, Paul Bulcke, CEO and Richard Laube, Head of Nestle Nutrition should respond in detail. Richard Laube defended the ‘protect’ logo and admitted the practice was being used in 120 countries on cereals and formula, showing it to be a global strategy. He indicated the marketing practice had been going on for some years and will continue, dismissing the suggestion that it was harmful or a violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
see Policy Blog for full speech made by Patti Rundall, Baby Milk Action Policy Director and Greenpeace video: