Baby Milk Action’s Policy Director, Patti Rundall, once more attended Nestlé’s Shareholder meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland in April (left) where Greenpeace activists created havoc by abseiling through the ceiling (page 22).
Paul Bulcke (right) took over the role of Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé from Peter Brabeck-Letmathé (below) who dismissed the majority of the shareholder criticisms as irrelevant to the company’s legal obligation to maximize the return on the shareholders’ investment.
Brabeck warned against tying corporations up in a “regulatory straightjacket”, saying this was unnecessary when corporations such as Nestlé already had sound principles and core values!
Patti challenged Nestlé on its health claims and ‘Protect’ logo, its lack of warnings on labels, its hopeless ombudsman system, its sponsorship and its marketing of junk food.
Mr. Brabeck asked Richard Laube, Head of Nutrition to respond, acknowledging that she no longer trusted him.
Paul Bulcke was head of Nestlé Latin America and was credited with achieving impressive gains in the infant nutrition sector. So it is no surprise that under his rule Nestlé is continuing to dismiss our complaints.
Nestlé Vice-President for Corporate Affairs, Niels Christiansen, will retire at the end of 2010. Niels is credited within Nestlé ending the first Nestlé boycott in 1984, but the hollowness of the company’s promises led to the second boycott in 1989. His attempts to make Nestlé look good since then have fuelled rather than the quelled the boycott - today, Nestlé is one of the four most boycotted companies on the planet according to an international poll by industry analysts GMI.
Neils launched ‘monthly’ Code Action reports in 1999, aiming to present Nestlé as code compliant, but these became an embarrassment and increasingly intermittent. After untrue allegations about us we demanded a right-to-reply which reached the global mailing list. As did apologies to government officials who complained about another of Neils’ initiatives: a hardbound, gold-embossed book of letters presented misleadingly as official verification of Nestlé’s supposed code compliance. We featured Neils on the cover of Update 31 (2002) appearing to pray for a miracle as yet another sponsorship deal - this time the Hay Book Festival - backfired. Farewell Niels.
Nestlé’s new Vice President is Janet Voûte - former Partnership Advisor to WHO with responsibility for the UN Global Compact and NCDNet (pgs 7, 16). We live in hope that Janet will stop her new colleagues at Nestlé from abusing human rights.