Emma Thompson, Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter, writes:
I’ve been following the work of Baby Milk Action for many years and supporting their campaigns, such as the successful defence of baby food marketing regulations in the Philippines in 2007. Baby Milk Action is incredibly effective for a small organisation and needs all the help it can get for its work to continue.
As explained below, it takes no commercial funding, not even advertising links on this website. Donations from the public are a critically important source of independent funding.
Can you make a donation right now, even if just £1.00? A small amount may not seem worth the bother – but please do bother. Just click on the amount and donate button below.
Read on to find out how this helps to protect babies and their families around the world and other ways that you can support the campaign.
(Photo: Clive Coote)
Emma’s message backing Baby Milk Action’s petition of solidarity with the government and campaigners in the Philippines (left) appeared on the front page of the biggest circulation broadsheet in the Philippines, the Daily Inquirer, on 9 December 2006 with the headline “Oscar winner joins Republic of Philippines fight vs milk firms”.
This helped to counter heavy-duty lobbying from the baby food industry, US Chamber of Commerce and US State Department against new baby food regulations.
Our funding is independent of commercial interests
Our funding comes from membership fees, donations, merchandise sales and grants from development agencies and charitable trust.
Last year our income was less than £90,000, enough to employ 3 part-time staff and a book-keeper, pay the auditors, run the websites and office, travel to key events and support our partners around the world. As you can see below, we achieve a lot for this money. You make that possible – financially and through your support.
So please think about sending us a donation every now and then when you visit our sites. We don’t take pay-per-click advertising on our websites, to maintain our independence and because we have better things to do than check out whether the advertisers are companies we want to send you to. Instead, please click on our donate button. One pound may not seem worth the bother – but only a fraction of the visitors to this site have to make the effort to make a big difference.
Please be one of them today.
Or sign up as a member. Pay the annual fee at £1.50 per month and we will send you a free gift – click here.
If you are already a member, donor or purchaser of our merchandise, then you can give Baby Milk Action membership as a gift – click here.
You share in our successes – and money is not everything
If you have given enough, or now is not the time, then just by visiting this site and being informed, you are helping Baby Milk Action’s work and so helping to save and improve infant lives.
Our supporters send us information about how baby food companies are pushing their products in the UK and other countries.
Campaign supporters have made Nestlé the most boycotted company in the UK and one of the four most boycotted on the planet.
Whether helping financially, by spreading the word, joining in our campaigns or sending us information, you are making a difference. For example, successes in the last 12 months include:
Stopping baby milk marketing violations in the UK
Example: Tesco, the UK’s leading supermarket chain, pulled its “Big Price Drop” campaign promoting infant formula after we exposed it. Short-term discounts are intended to boost sales and are against the law. This is not the first time it has broken the law and it has still not been prosecuted – we need to continue holding companies to account ourselves and gathering evidence to prompt the authorities to act.
Stopping baby milk marketing violations in other countries
Example: Nestlé dropped its claim that its formula is “The new ‘Gold Standard’ in infant nutrition” after we targeted this violation during International Nestlé-Free Week last year – but Nestlé refused to stop most of the violations reported to it. We need to be able to do more to mobilise people, because then executives act.
Exposing misleading claims made by baby food companies
Example: Members of the European Parliament voted to block an unsubstantiated claim about an ingredient added to formula following our email campaign and advocacy – but the European Commission ignored them. So now we are working with the Parliament to toughen up the regulations.
Bringing in safeguards at the national and international level
Example: We have built an alliance with other campaigning groups called the Conflicts of Interest Coalition and new United Nations declarations adopted since are warning governments to safeguard against conflicts of interest when they work with the private sector – but corporations have deep pockets and we need to constantly remind decision makers to put the public interest first.
And much more
We produce information materials, brief journalists, organise demonstrations, speak at health worker and public events, respond to government and United Nations consultations, expose the failings of international systems that are supposed to hold corporations to account, provide advice and support to partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) around the world, answer questions from the public and so on – while constantly having to find ways to bring in the money needed for this work to take place.
Baby Milk Action keeps on going
With the financial crisis, most campaigning organisations and charities have seen their income fall and some have folded up. Baby Milk Action keeps going, scaling back where we can, fitting our staffing to our income (and we are fortunate they are willing to cut their paid hours and keep working as much as they can).
We watch the pennies and aim to use them as wisely and effectively as we can.
So if you can, please click on the amount and donate button and send us £1.00 (or more).
Or become a member – click here.