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Nestlé boycott

Nestlé boycott

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Published by Akhilesh Ajayan

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Published by: Akhilesh Ajayan on May 31, 2012
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Nestlé boycott

The Nestlé boycott is a boycott launched on July 7, 1977, in the United States against the Swissbased Nestlé corporation. It spread quickly throughout the United States, and expanded into Europe in the early 1980s. In Canada, the controversy lasted from 1978 to 1984.[1] It was prompted by concern about the Nestle's promotion of breast milk substitutes (infant formula), particularly in less economically developed countries (LEDCs), which campaigners claim contributes to the unnecessary suffering and even deaths of babies, largely among the poor. [2] Among the campaigners, Professor Derek Jelliffe and his wife Patrice, who contributed to establish the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), were particularly instrumental in helping to coordinate the boycott and giving it ample visibility worldwide.

The baby milk issue Groups such as the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and Save the Children claim that the promotion of infant formula over breastfeeding has led to health problems and deaths among infants in less economically developed countries.[3][4] There are four problems that can arise when poor mothers in developing countries switch to formula:

Formula must normally be mixed with water, which is often contaminated in poor countries, leading to disease in vulnerable infants.[5] Because of the low literacy rates in developing nations, many mothers are not aware of the sanitation methods needed in the preparation of bottles. Even mothers able to read in their native tongue may be unable to read the language in which sterilization directions are written. Although some mothers can understand the sanitation standards required often do not have the means to perform them: fuel to boil water, electric (or other reliable) light to enable sterilisation at night. UNICEF estimates that a formula-fed child living in diseaseridden and unhygienic conditions is between six and 25 times more likely to die of diarrhea and four times more likely to die of pneumonia than a breastfed child.[6] Many poor mothers use less formula powder than is necessary, in order to make a container of formula last longer. As a result, some infants receive inadequate nutrition from weak solutions of formula.[7] Breast milk has many natural benefits lacking in formula. Nutrients and antibodies are passed to the baby while hormones are released into the mother's body.[8] Breastfed babies are protected, in varying degrees, from a number of illnesses, including diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, gastroenteritis, ear infection, and respiratory infection.[9][10][11] Breast milk contains the right amount of the nutrients essential for neuronal (brain and nerve) development.[12] The bond between baby and mother can be strengthened during breastfeeding.[10] Frequent and exclusive breastfeeding can also delay the return of

[14] Advocacy groups and charities have accused Nestlé of unethical methods of promoting infant formula over breast milk to poor mothers in developing countries. and the boycott was relaunched the following year. USA. It bans the promotion of breast milk substitutes and gives health workers the responsibility for advising parents.[13] The World Health Organization recommends that. Nestlé attempted to sue the publisher of a German-language translation (Third World Action Group) for libel. boycott coordinators met with Nestlé. In May 1978. and the boycott was officially suspended. and Europe. WHO and UNICEF hosted an international meeting that called for the development of an international code of marketing. the family must continue to buy the formula. which agreed to implement the code. which can help women in developing countries to space their births.[16] In 1981. In 1988 IBFAN alleged that formula companies were flooding health facilities in the developing world with free and low-cost supplies. In 1979. in the majority of cases. It limits manufacturing companies to the provision of scientific and factual information to health workers and sets forth labeling requirements. TIME magazine declared this a "moral victory" for the defendants. by the Infant Formula Action Coalition (INFACT) and this boycott soon spread to Australia.[21] The widespread publicity led to the launch of the boycott in Minneapolis. published by the British NGO War On Want in 1974. IBFAN also allege that Nestlé uses "humanitarian aid" to create markets. and Judge Jürg Sollberger commented that Nestlé "must modify its publicity methods fundamentally". The Code covers infant formula and other milk products. but because the supplementation has interfered with lactation. foods and beverages. after leaving the hospital. does not label its products in a language appropriate to the countries where they are sold. the court found in favour of Nestlé because they could not be held responsible for the infant deaths 'in terms of criminal law'. the 34th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted Resolution WHA34. when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable as a partial or total replacement of breast milk. Canada.[22] In 1984.fertility. the formula is no longer free. adjusted for inflation[20]). and offers gifts and sponsorship to influence health workers to promote its products. the US Senate held a public hearing into the promotion of breast milk substitutes in developing countries and joined calls for a Marketing Code.[17] Nestlé denies these allegations. New Zealand. After a two-year trial.[5] . babies should be exclusively breast fed for the first six months. IBFAN claim that Nestlé distributes free formula samples to hospitals and maternity wards.[15][16] For example. The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) was formed by six of the campaigning groups at this meeting.22 which includes the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.[19] Because the defendants were only fined 300 Swiss Francs (just over US$400.[18] History of the boycott Nestlé's perceived marketing strategy was first written about in New Internationalist magazine in 1973 and in a booklet called The Baby Killer. as well as action on other fronts to improve infant and early child feeding practices.

[33] . and schools have banned the sale of Nestlé products from their shops and vending machines. 12 trade unions. the NGOs criticized the lack of labelling in Laos and the provision of incentives to doctors and nurses to promote the use of infant formula. or use IBFAN's own non-standard interpretation of the Code. CARE International. 33 consumer groups. Among other unethical practices. education groups. Nestlé declined an invitation to attend. which consists of more than 200 groups in over 100 countries. The ASA found that Nestlé could not support this nor other claims in the face of evidence provided by the campaigning group Baby Milk Action..[24][25][26] Current status of the boycott The Nestlé boycott is currently coordinated by the International Nestlé Boycott Committee..[18] In May 2011. 31 MPs. In the United Kingdom. the secretariat for which is the UK group Baby Milk Action.[27] Company practices are monitored by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN). although it sent a representative of the auditing company it had commissioned to produce a report on its Pakistan operation. In parallel with the boycott.[28] Many European universities. 30 faith groups.In May 1999 a ruling against Nestlé was issued by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)."[32] The company maintains that many of the allegations are unsubstantiated. Plan International and World Vision have launched a boycott of Nestlé and written an open letter to the company. 102 businesses.[31] According to Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. If we find that the Code has been deliberately violated. claiming scheduling conflicts. Nineteen leading Laos-based international NGOs. and Nestlé to present evidence to a Public Hearing before the Development and Cooperation Committee. Oxfam. and many celebrities support the Nestle boycott. colleges. including Save the Children. campaigners work for implementation of the Code and Resolutions in legislation.[23] In November 2000 the European Parliament invited IBFAN. 20 health groups. 18 local authorities. the debate over Nestlé's unethical marketing of infant formula was relaunched in the Asia-Pacific region. Nestlé claimed in an anti-boycott advertisement that it markets infant formula “ethically and responsibly”. 73 student unions.. out of date. and claim that 60 countries have now introduced laws implementing most or all of the provisions. Evidence was presented by the IBFAN group from Pakistan and UNICEF's legal officer commented on Nestlé's failure to bring its policies into line with the World Health Assembly Resolutions.[29][30] Nestlé claims that it is in full compliance with the International Code. UNICEF. we take disciplinary action. and we investigate any substantiated claims made by those who believe we have broken the Code. "we also carry out annual audits on WHO Code compliance with a sample of Nestlé companies.

I wrote about Nestle when I discovered that they (well. helping to spread the word about Nestlé’s unethical business practices. I know that and that’s fine. especially for young children. And again when the Nestle Family Twitter-storm took place in 2009. it takes public action to force Nestlé to change. two of their brands – Stouffer’s and Butterfinger) would be one of about 80 sponsors at this year’s BlogHer Conference in New York City.This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about Nestle and is likely not going to be the last. animals and the environment at risk. That’s not my place. And most recently. in United States and in Brazil). I wrote about Nestle when I compiled an updated list of all of the many. There will be people who hear about the Nestle boycott and their unethical business practices and they won’t care one way or the other. …and more (see Nestle Critics Portal and Corporate Watch: Nestle SA: Corporate Crimes). However. Promoting unhealthy food. Public action can take on many forms. including boycotting Nestlé brands. I wrote about the company when I first learned about the Nestle boycott. Using suppliers that violate human rights (e. Or perhaps they just won’t have time to look into it further. I’m a big fan of providing people with information and arming them with knowledge and letting them make their own choices. Overview of Nestlé’s Unethical Business Practices Nestlé is accused by experts of unethical business practices such as:       Promoting infant formula with misleading and harmful strategies that violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and put babies at risk (see Baby Milk Action’s Briefing on Nestle Updated July 2010 and the Boycott Nestle – and other action to protect infant health blog). Nestlé defends its unethical business practices and uses doublespeak. buying cocoa from suppliers that use child slaves) and destroy the environment (e. many brands Nestle owns (for people who choose to boycott them).g. When laws don’t exist or fail to hold Nestlé to account. . denials and deception in an attempt to cover up or justify those practices. My goal has always simply been to raise awareness. My goal – throughout all of this – has never been to tell people what they should or should not do. there will also be people who haven’t heard about what Nestle is doing and will want to learn more and find out what they can do and that’s where I like to think I can help. Controlling and abusing of water sources in its bottled water operations (e.g. Trade union busting activities and denying the rights of workers to collectively bargain.g purchasing milk from Mugabe. palm oil from rainforest). and putting pressure on the government to pass legislation that would prevent Nestlé from doing things that put people.

Solution  Provide better awareness to the users about the usage pattern of the product  Avoid the sales of such products in the under developed countries  Make use of breastfeeding for infants rather than giving milk products .


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