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Fano, Italy - Carnival dumps Nestlé

RIBN (Italian Nestlé Boycott Network) press release
7th February 2002

After four years of continuous pressure, the Board of Managers of the Carnival of Fano has announced that from 2002 onwards collaboration with Nestlé will be interrupted until the company shows that it respects the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions. Nestlé is the target of an international boycott because of its unethical and irresponsible marketing of baby foods, which endangers infant health.

Fano is a small town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, famous, among other things, for its Carnival and for having been designated by the UN as a "child friendly city".

Traditionally, during the Carnival contest, huge amounts of chocolates are thrown to the public from floats. The Town Council, through its Carnival Board of Managers, acquires the chocolates. For many years the chocolates have been purchased from Perugina, an Italian company fully owned by Nestlé since 1988.

In February 1997, some citizens in Fano set up a Group for an Ethical Carnival. The objective was to advocate with the Town Council and the Board of Managers in order to interrupt the contract with Nestlé and purchase fair trade chocolates. For this purpose, the Group started to inform the citizens and authorities about the misbehaviour of Nestlé in developing countries and its consequences for millions of infants and children. The Group claimed that public funds collected with taxes could not be spent in contracts with such an unethical company. It claimed as well that such contracts were not compatible with the designation as a "child friendly city".

The campaign has been conducted for four years, with articles on local newspapers, distribution of more than 12,000 leaflets and booklets, public meetings, radio interviews, non-violent occupations of the Town Council, a flood of messages on the guestbook of the Carnival website, individual letters to authorities and politicians. Members of the Town Council and of the Provincial Council in favour of the campaign voted several amendments to the local legislation to try to politically influence the decisions of the Board of Managers.

Eventually, on 24 December 2001, the campaign ended happily: the Chairman of the Board of Managers has informed the Group for an Ethical Carnival, with copy to the Mayor and the Town Council, that it will no longer collaborate with Nestlé and that from the 2002 Carnival the chocolates will be acquired through fair trade organisations. The prohibition to make deals with Nestlé will last until the company will be able to produce evidence of respect for the International Code.

The Carnival runs until 12th February 2002. Official site in Italian:

For more information contact:

Gruppo Carnevale Etico
C\o Luca Ardenghi
Via Rizzoli 16
61032 Fano (PU)

Notes for editors from Baby Milk Action

  1. Italy is one of 20 countries where the Nestlé boycott has been launched by national groups. The most recent country to join the boycott is Cameroon, where a national group launched the boycott after finding Nestlé promoting infant formula at health facilities with film shows (see Baby Milk Action press release: 27th January 2001).

  2. Nestlé (UK) public relations staff claim that the boycott is only an issue in the UK and is not supported in other countries. Nestlé (UK) can be contacted on 020 8686 3333.

  3. Nestlé is the target of the boycott because monitoring by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) finds it to be responsible for more violations of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements than any other company. The latest monitoring report, Breaking the Rules Stretching the Rules 2001 again rates Nestlé as the worst company in terms of compliance following monitoring in 14 countries.

  4. Last year Nestlé was excluded from the new FTSE4Good ethical investment lists because it continues to violate the marketing requirements (see Baby Milk Action press release: 11 July 2001).

  5. According to UNICEF, reversing the decline in breastfeeding could save the lives of 1.5 million infants around the world every year. UNICEF's Legal Officer attended a Public Hearing into Nestlé's activities at the European Parliament on 22nd November 2000, along with IBFAN. Nestlé boycotted the hearing (see Baby Milk Action press release: 23rd November 2000, which includes the text of the presentations and links to news coverage).

  6. The UK Nestlé boycott featured prominently in the news again last August when celebrities called for a boycott of the Nestlé Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe (see Baby Milk Action press release: 28th August 2001, which includes video clips of Emma Thompson and Steve Coogan). According to Ethical Consumer Magazine's 1999 survey, the Nestlé boycott is the best supported consumer boycott in the UK.
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