Nestlé CEO, Mr Paul Bulcke, has posted an opinion piece in Huffington Post – Business: Part of the Problem? No, Part of the Solution. Comments are invited, but the one I posted has not appeared to the public. So it is posted below.
Nestlé is holding its Creative Shared Value (CSV) Global Forum on 9 October. From our analysis of CSV, we think it really stands for Creative Storytelling Venture. If you have concerns about Nestlé’s practices, send tweets to #CSVForum.
It is International Nestlé-Free Week at the end of October – a time for people who boycott Nestlé over the way it pushes baby milk to do more to promote the boycott – and for those who don’t boycott to give it a go.
Mike Brady’s response to Mr Bucke’s article – posted to Huffington Post:
Look closely at Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value (CSV) initiative and you will see it is a public relations scam designed to divert attention from Mr Bulcke’s ongoing abuse of human rights and environmental standards.
As a case in point, I have written repeatedly to Mr Bulcke and spoken at the Nestlé shareholder meeting, about widespread and systematic abuses of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for breastmilk substitutes. The responses show Nestlé’s true priorities and reveal how dishonest its CSV initiative and other pronouncement really are.
While Nestlé claims to support breastfeeding and the marketing requirements, on-the-ground monitoring shows it promotes its breastmilk substitutes with claims they are the ‘natural start’, ‘gentle start’ and ‘protect’ babies. As Mr Bulcke knows, babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die. Don’t take my word for it. Look at the evidence of what Nestlé is actually doing here: http://www.babymilkaction.org/nestlefree
[Left: Nestlé tells the public it support breastfeeding, while in presentations to investors it boasts of growth in formula sales, describing its ‘gentle start’ formula marketing campaign as a ‘growth engine’. It calls it ‘project happy’]
The responses I have received from Nestlé’s global public affairs manager when I have written to Mr Bulcke dismiss these concerns.
We have attempted to involve the UN Global Compact Office in applying its Integrity Measures for these and other violations of the Global Compact principles, but it refuses to do so – but then Nestlé is one of its patron sponsors. After five years, we are forced to conclude that the UN Global Compact is worse than useless – it does not take the action it could and should take, while providing PR cover to abusive corporations.
Countries that have implemented World Health Assembly marketing requirements and enforced them have stopped the aggressive marketing that is commonplace elsewhere. Regulation is clearly essential when Mr Bulcke and Nestlé put profits before infant health.
Recent moves by the UN Human Rights Council to draft a Treaty for a legal instrument to hold corporations to account are very welcome.
Corporations are human constructs and it is for society to set the rules. Let this be in the public interest and do not let Nestlé dictate the agenda.