Press releases

Nestle demonstration calls worst baby food company to account

The annual demonstrations at Nestlé sites is taking place in the UK from 11:00 to 12:00 on Saturday 21 May 2011. Nestlé is the most boycotted company in the UK and boycott supporters are protesting at Nestlé (UK) HQ in Croydon, other sites and on the internet. The theme of the demonstration is: Nestlé, Good Grief! - The Musical. Well, at least the recording of the jingle!

Nestlé's slogan is 'Good Food, Good Life'. Boycott supporters say, 'Nestlé, Good Grief!'.

Baby Milk Action will record 'Nestlé, Good Grief!' jingles, or other boycott jingles, sung in a catchy a way as possible. People are also uploading jingles to the Facebook event page:

This example from Nick Rundall of The Noise Deli:


Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, said:

"Nestlé is the worst of the baby food companies, violating the marketing requirements adopted by the World Health Assembly as it puts its own profits before health, and refusing to make changes unless under pressure. For example, Nestlé recently discontinued a leaflet claiming its formula is 'The new "Gold Standard" in infant nutrition' after thousands of boycott supporters sent it emails, but the company this month refused to stop 97% of the 130 violations it counted in the latest global monitoring report from the International Baby Food Action Network. Companies can comply with the marketing requirements when they are forced to: if you visit countries such as India or Brazil which have introduced and enforced legislation you won't find the types of violations that are common place elsewhere. Where legislation is lacking or ineffective, it falls to citizens to say 'Nestlé, Good Grief!' and boycott the company until it makes the required changes."

For further information on what Nestlé is doing, leafleting guidelines and to request leaflets, see:


Medecins Sans Frontiere and Declaration de Berne join the call to stop the World Health Forum

Stop Press: Decision Executive Board: 26th May 

For PDF in French 

PDF in English

For media coverage see attachments

PRESS RELEASE  17th May 2011 

World Health Assembly, United Nations Geneva,

NGOs call on Member States to STOP the World Health Forum



The International Baby Food Action Network and the People’s Health Movement, two of the largest people’s networks on public health issues,  the Swiss advocacy NGO, Declaration de Berne and the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontieres are jointly opposing the report of the WHO Director General, “The future of financing for WHO: World Health Organization: reforms for a healthy future.” 1The global networks consider that the new proposal undermines the principles of democratic governance and the independence and effectiveness of WHO.  It increases the power of the already disproportionately powerful for-profit sector. The Report from the Director General was issued only on 5th May. 


The open-ended development plan was publicly available only on the evening of Friday 13th, less than 3 days before the Assembly.   “We find this proposal absolutely unacceptable, especially since WHO has given Member States no time to discuss and consider the implications” said Dr Arun Gupta, Regional Coordinator for IBFAN Asia.


The DG is proposing the creation of a World Health Forum (WHF) as an essential element of the global health governance system. The NGOs are urging Member States (MS) to reject the draft resolution for several reasons, for example: 


1. As an intergovernmental organization, WHO has a constitutional mandate to ensure the fundamental right of every human being without distinction to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. WHO must protect its independence, integrity in decision making and its reputation. It must also guard against manipulation of its governing bodies by private interest actors.  Paragraph 20 (ii) of the report illustrate how the proposals for WHO reform risk undermining WHO’s ability to fulfill its mandate, stating that the expected outcomes will “Improve health outcomes, with WHO meeting the expectations of its Member States and partners”.  The reassurances given in Paragraph 86 that “a multi-stakeholder forum […] will not usurp the decision making prerogatives of WHO’s own governance” are not credible.  How can the WHF meet the expectations of commercial actors without usurping the prerogatives of WHO’s own governance? 


2 Paragraph 87 proposes that the multi-stakeholder forum will “identify future priorities in global health.” This is a reason for serious concern as it is the WHA’s responsibility to set health priorities, benchmarks and standards which will effectively protect health for all. Previous experience with multi-stakeholder initiatives has shown how health priorities are distorted when they have to be agreed by for-profit actors, whose duties and responsibilities are ultimately to their shareholders and employees. IBFAN’s experience on baby foods illustrates how the baby food industry systematically undermines Member States’ efforts to regulate marketing in line with WHA’s resolutions.


3. The WHF institutionalizes conflicts of interests as the norm within WHO by extending the role of policy and decision shaping to for-profit actors that have an interest in the outcome. WHF poses an unjustifiable risk, in that it may compromise and distort international and national agreed public health priorities and policies. This is ever more worrying in the absence of a strong and clear WHO policy on conflicts of interests. Transparency, currently promoted as the answer to the problem of conflicts of interests, is an essential requirement but it is not a sufficient safeguard in itself. It helps identify conflicts of interests, but does not deal with them. 


4 In A64/INF.DOC./5 the  Forum (output 6) seems to be created simply to achieve output 4  which deals with financing.  The other outputs 1, 2, 3 and 5,  do not need a Forum.  Para 4 of the same paper states that the “oversight will be  provided by the Director General and the Global Policy Group” which includes WHO staff and no Member States.


The NGOs  conclude that the proposal fails to demonstrate any added value over possible alternatives to address the issue of strengthening WHO’s role in global health governance.


- END - 


1   The future of financing for WHO World Health Organization: reforms for a healthy future Report by the Director-General

Info Doc released on 13th May:

For links to supporting documents see online version


Contact: For IBFAN: Patti Rundall  +44 7786 523493; Lida Lhotska  Ina Verzivolli  For PHM: Hani Serag +41 76 706 97 66          For MSF:  Joanna Keenan For DB:


Film clip: Baby food companies breaking the rules (press conference, Geneva, May 2011)

Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2011 is a monitoring report exposing how the leading 22 baby milk and feeding bottle companies market their products with strategies that violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly. Evidence was gathered by members of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) around the world.

A summary of the report was presented to journalist at the Geneva Press Club on 12 May prior to the 2011 World Health Assembly, resulting in international media coverage. For the media announcement, click here.

In the film below of the English part of the press conference, Annelies Allain, Director of the International Code Documentation Centre, which prepared the report, explains the latest marketing trends. Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, explains why companies are still able to get away with violating the marketing requirements in some countries and what is being done and needs to be done to stop them. Supporting documentation is given below the film.

Some of the resulting media coverage (Reuters article): India, MalaysiaNew Zealand, SingaporeTurkey, USAAlertNet. Print media: South China Morning Post

L'Evénement syndical (French).

(If you see media reports in your country let us know in the comments, and post a link if possible).

Click here to download the four-page summary of Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2011.

Click here to order full company profiles.

The information provided by Mike Brady is given below with links to supporting documents.


Thank you for the invitation to speak here today.

I think it is important to make the point that we are not talking about allegations of what the companies are doing. The report and the summary that you have shows the companies' own materials, their product labels. We are not just saying they are breaking the rules, you can see what they are actually doing.

When we see that companies are violating the marketing requirements so blatantly and so systematically, the inevitable questions are :  how can they get away with this and how can we stop them ?

The truth is in many countries they cannot get away with it. Around 70 countries have implemented many of the provisions of the International Code and Resolutions in legislation [Note 1].

In countries such as Brazil, which has particularly strong and well enforced legislation, you don’t find the violations that are commonplace elsewhere. Partly because of this, median breastfeeding duration has increased from 3 months in the early 1980s to over 10 months today [Note 2].

And that is the issue. Companies are competing with breastfeeding and if breastfeeding rates improve they lose sales. So we see them targeting mothers and pregnant women, and increasingly trying to link with education systems as well as trying to co-opt health workers.

They may say that they support breastfeeding and put required ‘breastfeeding is best for babies’ warnings on labels, but they carry on with the strategies we have been hearing about and they intend to continue.

We also want to protect babies who are fed on formula. Companies are reluctant to be honest about risks of formula feeding, for example failing to warn on labels that powdered formula is not a sterile product or provide information on the simple steps to reduce risks, unless they are forced to do so, as they are in the UK [Note 3].

Nestle, which controls 29% of the global baby food market according to industry analysts Euromonitor, responded to the report last week saying it would only take remedial action over 4 out of the 130 violations it counted, dismissing the rest [note 4]. That’s just 3%. In our view, Nestle is the worst of the companies which is why it is targeted with boycott action to give executives a financial reason for making changes. According to an independent survey, Nestlé is one of the four most boycotted companies on the planet. Nestle’s refusal to change will fuel the boycott and we will raise this at the boycott demonstration we will be holding outside its UK headquarters on 21 May [note 5].

Danone, which jumped to second place in the market with the acquisition of NUMICO brands, Nutricia, Milupa and Cow & Gate, in 2007 promised us a ‘root-and-branch’ review of marketing practices soon afterwards. We are disappointed to see so many Danone violations in the 2010 report.

You may ask, why is there no Danone boycott? And we are questioning whether that will be necessary to focus the minds of executives. However, in response to the report Danone has told us that action it has already taken will stop 50% of the violations in the report. That is its own assessment and we need details, but it is welcome that Danone accepts 50% of the violations need to be stopped and is a clear contrast to Nestle’s 3%. But why not 100%? 

Danone has told us that it will also remove the ‘Immunofortis’ claim that you will see in many of the examples of violations in its profile [Note 6].

I think this shows the great value of these monitoring exercises in exposing violations and prompting change and applaud ICDC for its hard work in coordinating the project and bringing the report together.

That said, it is not our job to do companies’ work for them. Both Danone, Nestle and the other companies should ensure their practices at every level comply with the Code under Article 11.3. We shouldn’t need to constantly cite examples of violations. They all could and should do better. Nestle really couldn’t do much worse. While Danone is removing its immunofortis claim, Nestle is defending the logos claiming its formula ‘protects’ babies, as shown on page 24 of its profile. These are a clear violation and should be removed. [Note 7].

This brings me to my final point. What should the UN and international community be doing?

Nestle is a leading member of the UN Global Compact and was a patron sponsor of the Compact's 10th anniversary celebrations in New York last year. All this while we have been pursuing a complaint against Nestle under the Global Compact Integrity Measures. Although these give the Global Compact Office the power to review companies and exclude them, the Office says that it prefers to ‘promote dialogue’. We ask it to look at and review the replies we receive from Nestle. The Compact Office says it prefers to keep companies in the voluntary initiative to ‘learn from their mistakes’. Well, Nestle makes plenty of mistakes, but just seems to have learned to use the Global Compact as public relations cover to divert criticism.

We have also tried to use the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, another voluntary initiative, with similar lack of progress. [Note 8].

So to conclude, these companies get away with as much as they can as they can because they put their own profits before infant health and mothers rights. Legislation is needed to stop them. Where that does not exist or is ineffective, we need international measures and we call on the international community to revise or replace the UN Global Compact system. This voluntary initiative is not only ineffective on this issue, it is more of a problem than a solution. 

Which leaves us with civil society exposing malpractice as in this report and bringing pressure through the Nestle boycott and other campaigns.

The media has an important role to play in this, of course, by looking at what companies are actually doing on the ground, not just what they say, exposing this and questioning executives and policy makers on what action they will take.



  1. See State of the Code by Country 2011.
  2. See A review of breastfeeding in Brazil and how the country has reached ten months' breastfeeding duration. The graph that shows increasing breastfeeding duration and significant actions includes NBCAL (Norma Brasileira de Comercialização de Alimentos para Lactentes) and its various revisions, which is the Brazilian implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly. It also refers to IBFAN Treinamento (IBFAN Training on the Code). The NBCAL restricts all promotion of infant milks and baby foods up to three years of age. Also see the Brazilian case study in the 2004 IBFAN report, Checks and Balances in the Global Economy.
  3. The World Health Organisation introduced Guidelines for the safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula following deaths linked to intrinsic contamination of products with Enterobacter Sakazakii, in particular the death of a 5-day-old child in Belgium in 2002. IBFAN has called on companies to revise labels and other information accordingly. See, for example, Baby Milk Action's 2007 survey of company 'carelines'. The Food Standards Agency introduced Guidance Notes accompanying the UK Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula set out labelling requirements (see section 24 of the Guidance Notes). New labels began to appear on the UK market in 2009 (see Update 42). Baby Milk Action has produced a DVD called Infant Formula Explained on behalf of the UK Baby Feeding Law Group showing how to prepare formula in line with WHO Guidance.
  4. Nestlé's 77-page response to the Breaking the Rules report is available here. An initial response from ICDC can be found here. Nestlé says it has discontinued a leaflet from Egypt claiming its formula is 'The new "Gold Standard" in infant nutrition' as one of the four violations. This was targeted in Baby Milk Action's Email Nestlé campaign which saw thousands email Nestlé. A scan of the leaflet in question can be found on the campaign page. Nestlé refuses to remove the 'protect' logos also featured in that campaign, but one of the four cases relates to DHA claims made in an advertisement in South Africa. It recently acknowledged in response to the Email campaign that claimed benefits of adding DHA to formula are 'not proven', but its response to BTR is about tweaking wording, not stopping making claims about DHA benefits. For more on Nestlé and DHA see Update 43. Another of the four cases relates to targeting health care professionals in Papua New Guinea in breach of government policy. Although caught out on this occasion, Nestlé continues to target health workers with sponsorship, invitations, gifts etc. (for example Nestlé's targeting of health workers in India in breach of its Infant Milk Substitutes Act - click here). It appears that the fourth case relates to a shelf-talker. Yet Nestlé has defended shelf-talkers elsewhere, such as in South Africa where its competitors took it to the Advertising Standards Authority alleging a violation of the Code. Although Nestlé claims to abide by the Code in developing countries, in reality it points to weaker voluntary measures to defend violations, using in the case of South Africa a ruling in its favour by the ASA - which it finances as an advertiser - to dismiss criticism (details here). Hence Nestlé 'remedial action' does not constitute an acceptance that the practices should stop - and, of course, it disputes the validity of the remaining 97% of the violations.
  5. A 2005 survey by GMI found Nestlé to be one of the four most boycotted companies on the planet and the most boycotted in the UK (report in The Guardian). Baby Milk Action organises an annual demonstration at the Nestlé (UK) HQ in Croydon. The 2011 event was achieving international coverage even before it took place - report in the Philippines.
  6. For analysis of the responses of Nestlé and Danone to the Breaking the Rules report, see:
  7. For Baby Milk Action's ongoing campaign calling for Nestlé to remove the 'protect' logos, and Nestlé's responses, see Email Nestlé.
  8. For information on Baby Milk Action's complaints under the UN Global Compact and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Nestlé's sponsorship of the Global Compact 10th anniversary celebrations, click here. For detailed proposals for a possible international regulatory framework, see Mike Brady's chapter on corporate accountability in the book Global Obligations for the Right to Food.

IBFAN Breaking the Rules report launch, Geneva, 12 May.

IBFAN press release 


"Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules"  Babies before Business 

Media coverage: Reuters 

South China Morning Post

Oman Daily Observer

Le Courrier


Ms. Annelies ALLAIN

Director, International Code Documentation Center, IBFAN, Malaysia

Mr. Mike Brady

Campaigns coordinator, Baby Milk Action, IBFAN, United Kingdom

Thursday, May 12th 2011 at 13h.

 « La Pastorale » Route de Ferney 106, Genève

Click here for a film clip of the opening presentations.

The annual total baby food market exceeds US$31 billion according to global marketing reports. Double-digit growth is forecast for several regions and global sales are expected to reach up to US$42.7 billion by 2013. Hence the pressure to increase market share is intense.

Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2010 is a new 208-page IBFAN report that details the latest marketing strategies used by the 11 major baby food manufacturers and exposes violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions over the three years from Oct 2007 to Oct 2010. In May 2010, the World Health Assembly called on companies to meet their obligations with respect to the Code and on governments to act to protect their citizens from practices that undermine breastfeeding and put babies fed on formula at risk. Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2010 provides up-to-date evidence that action is urgently needed.

Independent monitors from over 46 countries contributed evidence showing that breastfeeding still faces multi-million dollar competition from baby food companies using new ways to promote their products, such as basing marketing campaigns on added ingredients, even when these have no proven benefit.

The evidence was compiled, checked and legally analysed by the International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC) based in Penang, Malaysia. ICDC is part of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN). Each company’s violations are presented along with an updated company profile. IBFAN-ICDC produces global monitoring reports about every three years. It also publishes country and regional reports.

 “This report is different from previous reports in that it analyses trends in marketing. While our work on regulations and grassroots campaigns has stopped some practices, the report shows that health and nutrition claims are now the key marketing strategy that needs to be tackled. Companies are using the most extraordinary and bizarre claims to suggest that their new ingredients provide functional benefits that are essential to child health. As markets become saturated this is a cynical attempt to ‘add value’ and increase profits.”



Breast-fed babies become children with fewer behaviour problems


Breast-fed babies become children with fewer behaviour problems


[Breastfeeding and child behaviour in the Millennium Cohort Study. Online First Arch Dis Child 2011; doi:10.1136/adc.2010.201970]


Babies who are breastfed are far less likely to become children with behaviour problems by the time they reach the age of five than those who receive formula milk, reveals research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.


There have been few large scale studies carried out so far of a possible link between infant feeding and child behaviour and of those, findings have been inconsistent. When socio-economic and parental factors were taken into account, findings that previously suggested breastfed children had fewer behaviour problems, were sometimes rejected.


Researchers from the universities of Oxford, Essex, and York as well as University College London, set out to examine whether or not there was a link between infant feeding and subsequent child behaviour.


They used data from a large UK study known as the Millennium Cohort Study involving 10,037 mother-child pairs from a white ethnic background. The Millennium study is a survey of infants born in the UK during a 12-month period in 2000-2001. People who took part were interviewed when their child was nine months old and they were revisited at two-yearly intervals. 


Within the data group studied by the researchers, there were 9,525 full-term and 512 pre-term children.


They used a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) completed by the parents to score children and identify potential behavioural problems including emotional (e.g. clinginess, anxiety), hyperactivity (e.g. restlessness), and conduct (e.g. lying and stealing), by the time the child was aged five.


Results showed that 29% of children born at full term and 21% of children born prematurely were breastfed for at least four months.


They found that abnormal scores for the questionnaires, which indicate potential behavioural problems, were less common in children breastfed for at least four months (6%) than in formula fed children (16%).


The lower risk of a full-term breastfed child having abnormal scores for behaviour were also noted even when the researchers took into account other influences such as socioeconomic or parental factors.


The evidence for an association between breastfeeding and behavioural problems in premature children was unclear. 


One possible reason for the findings put forward by the authors was that breast milk contains large amounts of essential long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, growth factors and hormones which have an important role in the development and function of the brain and central nervous system.


Manufacturers have only started to supplement formula milks with essential fatty acids in the past decade and the effectiveness of such supplementation is unclear.


The results might also be explained, they added, by the fact that breastfeeding leads to more interaction between mother and child, better learning of acceptable behaviours and fewer behavioural problems. 


The authors concluded: “Our findings suggest that longer duration of breastfeeding (at all or exclusively) is associated with having fewer parent-rated behavioural problems in term children.”



Maria Quigley, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, UK

Tel: + 44 (0) 1865 289725





Click here to view the paper in full:


Notes for Editors:

Archives of Disease in Childhood is one of more than 35 specialist titles published by the BMJ Group.


Media coverage:


WHO Global Forum in Moscow. Tackling food-related diseases: voluntary measures or regulation - carrot or stick?

WHO Global Forum in Moscow. Tackling food-related diseases: voluntary measures or regulation - carrot or stick? 

Washington Post article on Moscow meeting: WHO takes on chronic disease disease/2011/04/29/AF0GBEFF_story.html

WHO takes on chronic disease

By Will Englund, Friday, April 29, 2:23 PM

MOSCOW — The World Health Organization focused for decades on infectious diseases, but now it’s putting non-communicable diseases near the top of its agenda.

Charity Commission asked to investigate Nestle deal with the London Marathon

Media coverage: Civil Society Magazine (20 April 2011).

For information on the results of the complaint see Update 44 - click here.

Baby Milk Action has asked the Charity Commission to investigate sponsorship of the London Marathon (Sunday 17 April) by Nestlé, the UK's most boycotted company, after the London Marathon Charitable Trust said its sponsorship policy is confidential and refused to discuss the appropriateness of Nestlé as a sponsor. Commission guidance states: "Charities should be transparent about any relationship they have with a commercial partner and put in place the appropriate safeguards." When Baby Milk Action contacted the London Marathon Charitable Trust last year, the first time the water was branded as Nestlé Pure Life, to discuss the sponsorship policy and introducing ethical clauses if these did not exist, it was told: "The London Marathon’s sponsorship policy is confidential to the organisation of the event including the Race Director, CEO, Board of Directors and Trustees". All efforts to enter into discussion of the appropriateness of Nestlé were met with the response of 'no comment'.

Baby Milk Action did not ask runners to boycott the marathon (many runners raise money for good causes), nor did it advise boycotting the water as this could put health at risk. But it is calling for alternative water to be made available and for the London Marathon to be transparent about its sponsorship policy and introduce ethical clauses. Although it is unfeasible for Baby Milk Action to arrange alternative water points, a boycott supporter did set up a Nestlé-Free Zone water stop (see picture - click on image for hi-res version).

Nestlé needs to stop violating baby milk Code says new board member, Veneman, ex UNICEF Director

Nestlé needs to stop violating baby milk Code says new board member, Veneman - ex UNICEF Director.  Guards stop health campaigners seeing Ms Veneman before the AGM

Nestle Shareholder Meeting, Lausanne, Switzerland 14th April 2011


Former head of UNICEF, Ann Veneman, joined Nestlé's board yesterday after Nestlé security and newly appointed Vice-President, Janet Voûte (1) stopped Baby Milk Action and GIFA members from speaking with her prior to her appointment.

The health campaigners were calling on her to reconsider, or at the very least make her joining the board conditional on Nestlé bringing its baby food marketing requirements into line with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions, championed by UNICEF and WHO.

In a Reuters report the previous day (2) UNICEF, had distanced itself from Ms Veneman. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said: "Ms. Veneman left UNICEF nearly a year ago and is now a private individual. UNICEF would not presume to comment on any personal choices. I can confirm that UNICEF does not take funding from Nestle. I can also confirm that Nestle violates the code."

Ms Veneman was duly voted onto the Board by 98.7% of the Shareholders who were present and later pledged in a statement to the Associated Press (3) "to take up a fight from within to change Nestlé's marketing of breast milk substitutes" and to have "acknowledged Nestlé isn't fully complying with a voluntary breast milk code adopted by World Health Organization but would work from within to change the world's biggest food and beverage company."

In the Reuters report Nestlé had attempted to suggest it was already compliant, with Nestle spokesman Robin Tickle quoted as saying Veneman would help "ensure our continued full compliance" with the Code. Nestlé Executives also claimed that the recent addition to the FTSE4Good ethical investment listing was a sign it complied with the Code. However Nestlé was only admitted after the standards were weakened in September 2010 so now a FTSE4Good listing does not require companies to comply with the UN marketing standards. Nestlé's marketing practices will be assessed by FTSE4Good in 2 countries and the company will be excluded once again if it does not respond positively to the recommendations in the resulting assessement report. (4)

Following the AGM, Patti Rundall, OBE, Policy Director of Baby Milk Action and Ina Verzivolli of IBFAN GIFA did secure an interview with Ms Veneman and were able to explain how Nestle was misinterpreting the FTSE4Good listing. She was given a copy of IBFAN's latest independent monitoring report, ‘Breaking the Rules,’ which shows how Nestlé continues to be a major violator of the UN requirements. Throughout the discussion Janet Voûte kept trying to prise Ms Veneman away, insisting that the FTSE listing did mean that the company was considered to be code compliant and that it would be far more effective if the campaigners did more breastfeeding promotion (instead of monitoring) and used the "carrot AND stick " approach.

After listening and looking at the evidence Ms Veneman did seem to change her position, and later admitted to Associated Press that Nestle's practice was a problem and needed to change. Earlier to the Dow Jones Newswire (5) she had been reported as saying: "Nestle's policies are consistent with those of the World Health Organization. I will make sure that the code is complied with during my time on the board," In the same report Nestle claimed to be "fully compliant with the WHO codes"

Patti Rundall said: "I really welcome Ms Veneman's comment that Nestlé needs to change, but was disgusted that Nestlé guards and Janet Voûte should stop me from speaking to her before her appointment. Do they think they own their Board members? Sadly my experience leads me to be skeptical about the strategy of working from within to change this company - Ms Veneman will certainly have her work cut out to achieve the signifant changes that are necessary to protect infant health. Many others have tried, for example by investing in the company, but this has resulted in little more than clever PR words. Indeed, the Methodist Church has had to repeatedly complain that its decision to invest to change Nestlé has been used by the company to falsely suggest it is happy with its ethical behaviour. The fact is, campaigns such as the Nestle Boycott and the independent monitoring that exposes bad practice all help governments bring in the strong legislation thats needed to bring effective long-term change. In this way we have indeed brought about some significant changes in Nestle's marketing and those of other companies - but its inevitably a long haul - we are talking about very lucrative products.   I hope Ms Veneman will agree to meet us again to work out an effective strategy to bring an end to the marketing practices that are so harmful to child health. If she could get Nestle to commit to stopping all health and nutrition claims on foods and formulas for infants and young children it would be a great start!"



  • Nestlé is the most boycotted company in the UK and is embroiled in controversy over its sponsorship of the London Marathon on Sunday 
  1.  Janet Voûte,  was a former staff member of  WHO responsible for the WHO’s Global Network for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDnet) and controversially was instrumental in bringing  the World Economic Forum (WEF) onto  the International Advisory Council (IAC) of the NCDNet. Ms Voûte moved to Nestlé as Vice-President responsible for global public affairs policies and strategies in 2010. It is not clear if the WEF remains on the IAC. Other notable revolving door examples are Derek Yach - WHO’s Executive Director for Chronic Disease, now Pepsi-Co’s Senior Vice President, and Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO’s Director General (1998-2003) who joined the Pepsi Blue Ribbon Advisory Board. See The Door Revolves Again. World Public Health Nutrition: 
  2.  Uproar at ex-UNICEF boss joining Nestle board 
  3.  Nestlé OKs UNICEF figure ASSOCIATED PRESS April 14, 2011, 8:06PM 
  4. Will FTSE4Good's Nestle gamble work? 
  5. UPDATE: Breast Milk Campaigners Fail To Talk Veneman Away From Nestle, John Revill, DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Thursday, 14 April 2011

links to media coverage:



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