To whom it may concern,
I would just like to share an experience we had in the
regional office-IBFAN Africa with Nestle South Africa.
Mr. Nick Partington, Manager, Medical and Scientific
Affairs, of Nestle South Africa phoned our office many
times wanting some clarifications on the code and asking
to meet us.
We asked them to write and explain the purpose of such
a meeting. They did as shown below:
"-Baby food company marketing practices in South
-Who code monitoring
-signatorry to who code
-meeting with stakeholders and interested parties"
After much deliberation we agreed to meet with them and
invited our local partner, SINAN as well. Our aim was
to register our concern to Nestle for all the ills it
is doing in the region, particularly its new strategy
of face to face promotion of infant formula, in southern
We have official minutes of the meting, which we have
filed and sent to the INBC [International Nestlé
Boycott Committee] secretariat [housed at Baby Milk Action].
We told Nestlé in no uncertain terms that : code
monitoring must remain independent:
This means that industries must monitor their own practices
while the government and consumers do the same - independently
of each other.
Guess what Nestle did next? Nestle's Nick Partington,
went to UNICEF South Africa, some weeks after meeting
with us, and told them that they had discussed with their
"partners" IBFAN Africa about the need to monitor
the code in partnership, and requested UNICEF South Africa
to facilitate Nestle participation in the process of national
code development that is now going on in South Africa.
Because UNICEF heard that Nestlé had already met
with us, they agreed to Nestles request. I was informed
about this meeting and how Nestlé had used their
meeting with IBFAN to persuade the UNICEF Representative
to agree to facilitate their participation in the South
Africa national process of code development.
When I found out what Nestle had said about us I immediately
wrote to UNICEF South Africa and other UNICEF offices
refuting it and urging them not to allow Nestle to visit
I warned that they may be falling into a trap and that
Nestle was being dishonest when they call us "partners".
So how can IBFAN meet with Nestle? Even if you record
what you discuss, a meeting between IBFAN and Nestle would
be such good image building for Nestle and we might lose
much of our credibility. Nestle will never quote the true
content of such a meeting, instead they will end up quoting
that meeting anywhere they go, pretending to be our partners.
Take it from me and learn from us. Let us not give them
such a free treat.
IBFAN Africa Coordinator
24th October 2001