Email update : 9 July 2011
Nestlé - the Musical: film clip from the May demonstration.
A 2-minute clip from the demonstration at Nestlé (UK) HQ is available on the website.
Your own Nestlé, Good Grief! clips are welcome!
Civil society groups warn UN, UNICEF and Save the Children about corporations - please sign up
On 24 June 2010, UNICEF, the UN Global Compact Office (GCO) and Save the Children began to develop a set of Principles to outline actions that business can take to respect and support children’s rights.
According to a statement, the so-called Children's Rights and Business Principles Initiative (CRBPI) will present: "business, civil society... and other stakeholders with an unprecedented opportunity to join forces in an effort to better enable the private sector to become a more positive force for children."
Baby Milk Action and other civil society organisation are warning that the development of the CRBPI at this time pre-empts and undermines the forthcoming Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment on Business and Children’s Rights. This will guide Member States in establishing regulatory frameworks to protect child rights. The CRC approach - not the GCO approach - should underpin all action on children’s rights in this area.
The civil society organisations are pointing out to UNICEF and Save the Children that 'joining forces' with business will inevitably compromise the CRBPI principles. They add that any initiative on children’s rights and business should not rely on voluntary commitments, but should have strong accountability measures. These measures should include independent monitoring of business practices. They are also calling for UNICEF and Save the Children to work independently of the discredited Global Compact (see below).
Full details and sign up before 14 July at:
Alternatively submit your own comments by 15th July to http://business-humanrights.org/Documents/CRBPI-consultation
• The UN Global Compact is a voluntary initiative intended to improve the behaviour of corporations. It was introduced as an alternative to bringing in regulations to hold them to account. Baby Milk Action and partners have registered complaints about Nestlé and found the Global Compact Office (GCO) does nothing to investigate corporations that break the principles they claim to follow. Despite the complaints, GCO still accepts Nestlé as patron sponsor of its events. In March 2011, a review from the UN Joint Inspection Panel (JIU), an independent oversight body, raised significant concerns about the Global Compact.
Join the call on the UN to act on conflicts of interest in its dealings with industry
Over 100 leading international civil society organisations and networks earlier wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations warning of linking to corporations to tackle the growing problem of Non-Communicable Diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Manufacturers of unhealthy foods, including Nestlé and Coca Cola, are seeking to be involved in developing policies in this area.
For the full letter, list of endorsers and to add your organisation, visit:
Gabrielle Palmer's new book on the politics of complementary feeding is now available
Gabrielle Plamer's new book Complementary Feeding: Nutrition, Culture and Politics is now available in Baby Milk Action's online Virtual Shop.
We are very pleased to have a limited number of signed copies available for an additional donation towards Baby Milk Action's work.
Further details and order at:
Nestlé's not changed, but FTSE4Good has, and a Church may end its boycott support as a result
Baby Milk Action has learned that the United Reformed Church (URC) may end its support for the Nestlé boycott as a direct result of action taken by FTSE, the stock market listing company. FTSE has changed its criteria to make it easier for baby food companies to be included in its FTSE4Good ethical Index.
Under the FTSE4Good criteria introduced in September 2010, companies can be added to the Index while still systematically violating the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly. Because of the change, Nestlé was included in the Index in March 2011.
The URC Assembly restated its support for the Nestlé boycott in July 2010. However, it said it would end its boycott if Nestlé met the FTSE4Good criteria and was added to the Index. A URC Officer has informed Baby Milk Action that the Church is obliged to act on the Resolution, even though FTSE weakened its criteria after the Assembly took its decision and Nestlé would still be excluded under the criteria in force at the time.
This is the second time that FTSE has weakened its criteria to make it easier for baby food companies to make it onto the Index. FTSE has explained that it usually sets standards at a level that allows half the companies in a sector to be included.
Organisations that profit directly from Nestlé malpractice are amongst those that have been advising FTSE on the inclusion and assessment procedures.
FTSE has rejected suggestions made by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) that would make the FTSE4Good procedures more objective, robust and independent of vested interests.
Baby Milk Action has been asked by investors for our opinion of FTSE4Good and we have prepared a one-page briefing that is available at:
Nestlé and other companies that violate the Code are generally excluded from Socially Responsible Investment funds. In addition to its baby milk marketing practices, there are other reasons that mean ethical investors don't want to put their money into Nestlé. These include its treatment of farmers, abuse of trade union rights, failing to act on child slavery and labour in its cocoa supply chain and its environmental impact.
Nestlé's undermining of the human right to water is being highlighted in its nomination for entry into the Corporate Hall of Shame. You can find out more and vote for Nestlé to be shamed by going to the Corporate Accountability International campaign.
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