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FTSE drafts revisions of FTSE4Good breastmilk substitutes criteria

From the documents regarding the Church Investment Group meeting, Baby Milk Action learned that FTSE has revised the criteria for breastmilk substitute manufacturers to enter its FTSE4Good ethical investment list. According to the CIG secretary, “FTSE had recognised the bar had been set too high by excluding all manufacturers.” Companies are not excluded by default, but by failing to meet the requirements of the criteria. Indeed, FTSE4Good admitted one manufacturer in 2007, only for its Gerber baby food business to be bought by Nestlé, which has since launched aggressive marketing campaigns using the brand, in violation of the criteria. 

The revised criteria still require companies to accept the validity of the World Health Assembly marketing requirements and says companies, "must provide to the FTSE Breastmilk Substitutes Committee, on request, copies of all related marketing literature and product labelling.”

This was exactly the request Baby Milk Action asked the Swiss Government to put to Nestlé in pursuit of our complaint of violations of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, but the Government refused (page 16). Baby Milk Action will gladly help in assessing any materials that are made available to the Committee.

Update July 2011: Following the changes to the FTSE4Good breastmilk substitutes criteria, Baby Milk Action is recommending that people who want to hold baby food companies to account DO NOT invest in a FTSE4Good tracker. Click here for full details.


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