Why the Nestlé boycott continues
Nestlé is the target of a boycott because it contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world by aggressively marketing baby foods in breach of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the 20 World Health Assembly Resolutions that have been adopted by the World Health Assembly since 1981. (together called The International Code)
IBFAN groups around the world have been protecting children for 40 years – helping governments bring in legislation that stops the predatory marketing that all companies do. Over 140 countries (70%) have brought in some sort of legislation based on the Code – but because of pressure from companies many have loopholes that allow harmful marketing to continue. Nestlé, the oldest and largest manufacturer and distributor of baby foods pretends to be the most Code complaint, yet in all the independent monitoring reports it is found to violate the Code the most – closely followed by Danone.
Nestle Booklet with its policies (2021): https://www.nestle.com/sites/default/files/asset-library/documents/creating%20shared%20value/nutrition/nestle_policy_who_code_en.pdf
See pages 6-9 to see the ICDC analysis of Nestlé’s policies and how they differ from the WHA recommendations.
Nestlé is the target of a boycott because it contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world by aggressively marketing baby foods in breach of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the 19 World Health Assembly Resolutions that have been adopted by the World Health Assembly since 1981. (together called The International Code)
IBFAN groups around the world have been protecting children for 40 years – helping governments bring in legislation that stops the predatory marketing that all companies do. 136 countries (70%) have brought in some sort of legislation based on the Code – but because of pressure from companies many have loopholes that allow harmful marketing to continue. Nestlé, the oldest and largest manufacturer and distributor of baby foods pretends to be the most Code complaint, yet in all the independent monitoring reports it is found to violate the Code the most – closely followed by Danone.
For more on Conflicts of Interest see our Policy Blog for information about how Nestlé uses its power and wealth to influence policies in their favour.
Links to Nestlé policies: https://www.nestle.com/sites/default/files/asset-library/documents/creating%20shared%20value/nutrition/nestle_policy_who_code_en.pdf
See pages 6-9 to see the ICDC analysis of Nestlé’s policies and how they differ from the WHA recommendations.
Nestlé and Ukraine: Beware of its deceptive policies
In response to widespread criticism, Nestle has decided to stop selling its junk foods in Russia but is keeping infant food and medical and hospital nutrition on sale saying: “While we do not expect to make a profit in the country or pay any related taxes for the foreseeable future in Russia, any profit will be donated to humanitarian relief organisations..” Those wishing to support the Boycott are strongly advised to refuse any donations from this company.
(We never include breastmilk substitutes on boycott lists – aware that in some instances they can be the only food available and essential for child survival)
Talked to @Nestle CEO Mr. Mark Schneider about the side effect of staying in Russian market. Unfortunately, he shows no understanding. Paying taxes to the budget of a terrorist country means killing defenseless children&mothers. Hope that Nestle will change its mind soon.
— Denys Shmyhal (@Denys_Shmyhal) March 17, 2022
— Anonymous (@LatestAnonPress) March 18, 2022
Nestle and Child Slavery. In The Supreme Court of the United States, NESTLÉ U.S.A., INC. , Petitioner, v. JOHN DOE I et al.,
INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF PROPOSED CLASS M EMBERS , Dated: December 12, 2019
Respondents. On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Sunday, 8pm 25th April 2021. 20 yrs ago, the Mark Thomas Comedy Product show highlighted Nestle’s harmful baby food marketing on C4. The show looked back at over his exposés of corporate and other wrongdoing. Patti Rundall @pattirundall provided an update on the situation to date.
Nestlé Boycott page on Facebook – click here to become a fan and invite your friends.
As well as boycott materials, our online Virtual Shop has resources for health workers and mother-support groups to provide independent and accurate information. Check out the IBFAN Breastfeeding Calendar and the Infant Formula Explained DVD.
On this page:
- IBFAN’s 2017 Global Monitoring Report Exec Summary
- Latest news
- Boycott overview
- Evidence of Nestlé malpractice
- Supporting the boycott
- List of Nestlé products (opens a new page)
- Materials for promoting the boycott (boycott list, posters etc)
- Nestlé-free zone banners and logos
- Contact Baby Milk Action
Nestlé, the maker of Nescafé, is the target of a boycott because it aggressively markets baby foods around the world in breach of international marketing standards, contributing to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants. Baby Milk Action and its partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) monitor what companies are actually doing on the ground.
Nestlé promotes its baby milk around the world with misleading idealised and unsubstantiated claims such as ‘nutritional foundation for life’ ‘helps develop motor skills’ start’, ‘gentle start’ and ‘protects’ babies. In truth, babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die. Nestlé has promised to drop the ‘natural start’ claim by mid-2015 following pressure from the campaign, but not the others.
The World Health Organisation says: “Globally, breastfeeding has the potential to prevent about 800,000 deaths among children under five each year if all children 0–23 months were optimally breastfed.” That is 11.6% of all deaths amongst children under five years old could be prevented by breastfeeding.
Expensive baby foods can also increase family poverty. Poverty is a major cause of malnutrition.
Nestlé targets pregnant women, mothers of babies and young children and health workers to promote its products and boost its sales.
Nestlé also puts babies who need to be fed on formula at risk. It refuses to warn on labels that powdered formula is not sterile and may contain harmful bacteria and does not give correct instructions on how to reduce the risks – unless forced to by law (as in the UK, where it markets the SMA brand).
The boycott holds Nestlé to account and forces it to make changes, while also keeping the issue in the public eye (see Nestlé boycott successes). However, Nestlé continues systematic violations in those countries which have not yet brought in independently monitored and enforced legislation implementing the marketing requirements, which is another part of our strategy for protecting infant health and mothers’ rights.
The boycott will continue until Nestlé accepts and complies with Baby Milk Action’s four-point plan for saving infant lives and ultimately ending the boycott.
Four point plan
1. Nestlé must state in writing that it accepts that the International Code and the subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions are minimum requirements for every country.
2. Nestlé must state in writing that it will make the required changes to bring its baby food marketing policy and practice into line with the International Code and Resolutions (i.e. end its strategy of denial and deception)
3. Baby Milk Action will take the statements to the International Nestlé Boycott Committee and suggest that representatives meet with Nestlé to discuss its timetable for making the required changes.
4. If IBFAN monitoring finds no Nestlé violations for 18 months, the boycott will be called off.
As the largest company, Nestlé sets trends others follow. It also takes the lead in undermining regulations implementing the marketing standards. It is now rivalled by Danone, the second biggest company, as a source of violations. Danone is targeted with the DanoNO campaign.
See our briefing on Nestlé for examples of Nestlé marketing practices, with images, links and references.
Evidence of Nestlé malpractice
If you doubt that Nestlé is doing anything wrong, see the monitoring evidence in our Campaign for Ethical Marketing section.
We have responded to some of the misinformation given out by Nestlé Public Relations Machine in the report Nestlé’s Creative Storytelling Initiative.
Supporting the boycott
You can register your support for the boycott via our contact page.
You can find a list of Nestlé’s principal products in the UK by clicking here.
It is important to tell Nestlé you are supporting the boycott – even if only for Nestlé-Free Week.
Materials for promoting the boycott
If you would like to hold a meeting, why not order one of the films in our on-line Virtual Shop?
Download our leaflet on why to boycott Fairtrade KitKat.
Very useful items for your campaigning are the product list cards, giving Nestlé’s principal brands.
You could ask people to send letters to Nestlé as part of our Campaign for Ethical Marketing.
If you would like to give a talk yourself you might like to download a powerpoint presentation and a short presentation to adapt for your own use (the text has been checked to be legally accurate – please take care if adding information of your own).
If you like role playing, you could try doing something like the Nestlé challenge stunt Baby Milk Action did at Nestlé (UK) HQ at a past demonstration. Click here for details.
Keep us informed of your activities. It can help to generate international media coverage.
If you have a website, why not place this banner advertisement there?
For the image to automatically update on your site, don’t copy it, but link to it using :
For simplicity, you can copy the code below into the html source code of your web page or add it to your blog when in ‘edit html’ mode. With a myspace blog, you can add the code directly. With some blogs, you will have to add the link as a separate line. Simply add the URL:
<a href=”http://www.babymilkaction.org/nestlefree” target=”_blank”>
Alternatively use the following image to link to this page.The image address is:
If you use a service such as blogger, you can go to the ‘settings’ control panel and add an html page element. Cut and paste the text below into the field for the html and the image will appear with a link to this page! Click here for an example.
Alternatively use the following image to link to this page. The image address is:
Email Nestlé and your friends
If you are supporting the boycott, please send an email to Nestlé.
To tell people about the boycott by email, you could cut and paste the following text and adapt it to send to your friends, family and colleagues.
As you probably know, I support the boycott of Nestlé products.
According the the World Health Organisation (WHO) improving breastfeeding practices could prevent 800,000 child deaths every year. Despite this Nestlé continues to push its baby milks in breach of international standards.
Nestlé is the largest of the baby milk companies. Monitoring by groups on the ground around the world shows Nestlé systematically violates the marketing requirements and drives down standards for the industry as a whole. That’s why it is singled out for boycott action.
If you don’t boycott Nestlé already, I ask that you consider looking at the evidence and giving up Nestlé products, or at least its principal brand, Nescafé coffee.
The boycott has forced some changes from the company, but it is still a long way from complying. Campaigners are also working for laws. Nestlé can comply when it is given no choice. It is not being asked to do something that is impossible, but without pressure it continues to put its own profits before infant health and mothers’ rights.
You can find out more information and look at the evidence yourself on the Baby Milk Action website at:
You can sign up there to support the boycott.
It is important to tell Nestlé you will be boycotting it until it accepts and acts on the plan put to it by boycott groups for saving infant lives.
You can telephone Nestlé on the (UK) freephone number 0800 00 00 30 or send a message via its website http://www.nestle.com/
For further information on what has been achieved thanks to pressure from the boycott and why it continues to be important, click here.
If you have suggestions or designs you would like us to add to this page, please email mikebrady<AT>babymilkaction.org
If you would like leaflets and petition sheets in quantity, contact us.
The boycott is just one part of Baby Milk Action’s strategy to hold the baby food industry to account. Find out more by reading our year report. You can help this work further by becoming a member of Baby Milk Action. If you are outside the UK, contact our partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN).