Nestlé is sponsoring a children's book prize organised by the Booktrust. The book prize is a great scheme where short-listed books are distributed to a number of schools, whose students vote for their favourites. Baby Milk Action's objection comes because of the involvement of Nestlé, a company that abuses children and human rights around the world.
For Nestlé its involvement is an ideal way to try to divert criticism of its activities. The main element of the sponsorship appears to be providing public relations services to the prize through the PR company, Spreckley's.
Spreckley is a specialist in:
"CRISIS AND ISSUES MANAGEMENT – All businesses face problems at some point and the best strategy is to be prepared. We can help clients devise a crisis and issues strategy plan, as well as providing counsel and advice when incidents arises."
So perhaps it is not surprising that the press release refers not only to the book prize, but states Nestlé UK is: "a major supporter of charities helping children and teenagers.”
Nestlé is also the company responsible for more violations of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for baby foods than any other company. Its aggressive promotion contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world.
Nestlé has also been taken to court in the United States by the International Labour Rights Fund (ILRF) for failing to act to end child slavery in its cocoa supply chain in the Ivory Coast. Nestlé has also refused to support moves to bring farmers within the Fairtrade scheme in Ivory Coast, meaning registered farmers are unable to sell all of their produce within the scheme. Nestlé buys the surplus on the open market at lesser prices, according to ILRF. If cocoa is bought within the Fairtrade scheme the farmers are guaranteed a fair prize and are paid a community surplus used to ensure children go to school.