benefit from Nestlé's Public Relations disaster
5th November 1999
Nestlé has announced
it is entering into "partnerships" worth £1 million with four
UK charities: Kids Club Network, Macmillan Cancer Relief, British
Red Cross and Shelter.
Without wishing to
undermine the work of these charities, Baby Milk Action notes
that Nestlé appears to be acting on advice from Saatchi
and Saatchi following a "damning" ruling against it by
the UK Advertising Standards Authority. In May this year, after
one of its longest ever investigations, the ASA upheld all of
Baby Milk Action's complaints against a Nestlé anti-boycott
advertisement in which Nestlé claimed to market infant formula
"ethically and responsibly" (see Press
Release 12th May 1999). Nestlé's Chief Executive, Peter
Brabeck, flew into London the week before the publication of the
ruling to take personal charge of the damage limitation exercise
(see Boycott News 25).
Nestlé is the target of a boycott in 19 countries because
of its continued violations of the marketing requirements for
breastmilk substitutes. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
has stated that reversing the decline in breastfeeding could save
the lives of 1.5 million infants around the world every year.
Week (11th February 1999) described the ASA ruling against
Nestlé as: "a first-class public relations disaster"
and asked Marjorie Thompson of Saatchi and Saatch what Nestlé
the way to counteract the bad publicity is to go on the offensive
by using advertising showing the benefits of Nestlé's
financial contributions to charities, such as Kids Club Network
which provides after-school care for children."
Mike Brady, Campaigns
and Networking Coordinator, Baby Milk Action said:
"While we value
the work of the beneficiaries of Nestlé's Public Relations
strategy, we would much prefer that Nestlé responded by
putting infant health before its own profits and ended all baby
food marketing malpractice."
(Examples of Nestlé's
malpractice can be seen in the Campaign
for Ethical Marketing section of this website).
to react to each wave of bad publicity arising from the baby milk
issue by handing out more money to worthy causes. Churches in
York have recieved substantial donations following the Church
of England Synod's examination of this issue (see publications
Nestlé's Public Relations
Machine Exposed, Boycott
News 25 and Boycott News
From 1993 to 1994
Nestlé donations to charities increased from £847,000 to
£1.035 million. Peter Anderson, Nestlé UK Community Relations
Manager, was asked by Corporate Citizen magazine to explain
the increase and said it was "because a lot of people think
we're killing babies in the third world."
Nestlé is also
promoting cereals in school through its box-top scheme (see Boycott
News 25). Nestlé's Junior Range baby foods are sponsoring
Tumble Tots children's clubs (see Campaign
for Ethical Marketing September 1999).
Mike Brady said: "However
worthy the recipients, these tie-ins are ultimately self-serving
promotions for Nestlé and its products.
For further information
contact: Mike Brady, Baby Milk Action, 23 St. Andrew's Street,
Cambridge, CB2 3AX. Tel: (01223) 464420 Fax: (01223) 464417
(11th February 1999) said: "The Advertising Standards Authority
appears poised to publish a damning verdict on Nestlé,
which effectively brands the global corporation a liar, insofar
as it claimed to have marketed infant formula products ethically."
Nestlé appealed against the ruling. Its appeal was rejected
and the ruling was published on 12th May 1999.
See high resolution
pictures of Nestlé violations in the Baby
Milk Action Photo Library One and Nestlé
in Hungary - Violations Library on this Baby Milk Action
water is unsafe an artificially fed child is up to 25 times
more likely to die as a result of diarrhoea than a breastfed
The risk of HIV
transmission through breastfeeding requires further independent
research and careful consideration of risk. Mothers require
accurate and indpendent information. While replacement feeding
may be advisable in some instances, the World Health Organisation
has stressed that the International Code and Resolutions
must be respected. These measures aim to ensure safe use of
breastmilk substitutes as well as to protect breastfeeding.