read the latest newscodewatch: meet the code-breakersread the latest Boycott news, and join the Nestlé boycottVirtual Shopvisit the Resource Centresearch our growing databaselinks to breastfeeding resourcescontact Baby Milk Action

Nestlé UK's 'least ethical company' finds survey

13 April 2003

Today Nestlé received a shaming award at the Ethical Consumer World 2003 exhibition at Wembley Conference Centre after a survey found it is viewed as the UK's 'least ethical company'. Nestlé refused to send a representative to accept the award, so Baby Milk Action's Campaigns and Networking Coordinator, Mike Brady, collected it from Ruth Rosselson of Ethical Consumer Magazine at the Award Ceremony (right). Baby Milk Action will attempt to hand the award on to Nestlé during its 'big noise to wake up Nestlé' demonstrations in May.

Click here for a high-resolution
picture for printing
(Photo credit: Baby Milk Action)

This latest public relations disaster follows newspaper headlines on:

  • its aggressive pushing of baby milks in developing countries in January (click here)
  • its attempt to extract US$6million from the Ethiopian Government as the population faces famine (click here)
  • its desperate attempt to obtain a photograph of managers with Nelson Mandela (click here)
  • its targeting by Oxfam for paying below cost price for coffee beans (click here)

At Nestlé's shareholder meeting last week questions were raised on these issues and others, such its trade -union busting activities in Colombia (click here).

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator, at Baby Milk Action, a non-profit organisation campaigning for enforcement of the marketing code said:

"This award is an acknowledgement the success of campaigners in exposing corporate malpractice, but also the shocking failure of Nestlé to abide by minimum standards in a whole host of areas. The boycott is succeeding in saving infant lives by bringing about grudging changes from Nestlé. We also work for legislation which is independently monitored and enforced and this is having an effect in some countries, despite Nestlé's attempts to undermine such legislation. Nestlé is driven by increasing turnover and profit and the more people switch to other products, particularly Fair Trade products, the more pressure to change Nestlé feels."

Campaigners are using increasingly innovative means to expose and target Nestlé.

Click here for a high-resolution
picture for printing
(Photo credit: Baby Milk Action)

Baby Milk Action is currently auctioning a t-shirt signed by comedian Mark Thomas on eBay (click here) to raise funds for the campaign. Mark conducted an investigation into Nestlé on his Channel 4 programme, the Mark Thomas Product.

The Baby Milk Action website includes a broadcast section where visitors can hear campaigners from developing countries explain what Nestlé is really doing. The most recent posting is a telephone interview with Dr. Oscar Lanza, a respected health campaigner in Bolivia.

On 10th May, campaigners are planning to picket Nestlé sites around the country to make a 'big noise to wake up Nestlé'. Every 30 seconds a baby dies somewhere in the world because it was not breastfed. Nestlé believes it can ignore these deaths as it pursues ever greater sales of breastmilk substitutes, so campaigners will mark each death with drums, trumpets and other instruments between 11.00 and 12 mid-day. The event heralds in the UK's National Breastfeeding Week.

For further information contact Mike Brady on 01223 454420 or 07986 736179.

Notes for editors

Ethical Consumer sent out a postcard to all its readers, asking them to vote for their favourite ethical products in eight different categories, and also to nominate their least ethical product and least ethical company.

The Readers' Awards will be presented at the Ethical Consumer World exhibition which is taking place at Wembley Conference Centre in London from Friday 11th - Sunday 13th April. The Awards will be presented on the Sunday at 2:30pm.

In an earlier survey conducted for its 50th edition, Ethical Consumer Readers mentioned Nestlé far more than any other company as target of a personal boycott (click here).

press index