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Mr Brabeck fails to convince as eco-warrior

Nestlé's Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, likes to present himself as an environmental campaigner these days. It is a strategy to divert attention from the criticisms of many aspects of Nestlé's business under his rule. Yet it does not always go well: the Guardian interviewed him in January 2014 and reported, 

While scientists point to the near certainty that human activity is driving up temperatures, Brabeck argues that it is largely down to Earth’s natural cycles, and warns against trying to play god by seeking to stop global warming. Instead, he believes society should focus on adaptation.

A self-serving view when your business is transporting processed food around the planet, competing with breastfeeding and local foods. 

Mr Brabeck also went too far in using FTSE4Good to dismiss our evidence of unethical baby food marketing practices. FTSE4Good is an ethical investment index and Nestlé was not added until FTSE weakened the rules in 2011 (see our briefing). A company does not have to comply with the WHO Code to be added to the index. Nonetheless, the Guardian reports:

Brabeck also defended Nestlé against accusations by Baby Milk Action that it contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world by aggressively marketing baby foods. 

We are the only infant formula producer which is part of FTSE4Good. We are being checked and controlled by FTSE4Good. They make their audits in different parts of the world and we have to prove that we are complying with the WHO code and up to now we can prove that in everything we are.

FTSE was not impressed, agreeing that Mr Brabeck's comments are inaccurate. Nestlé has been warned, not for the first time, not to use FTSE4Good's name in this way. But will Mr Brabeck care? After all, nobody knows what he tells government leaders and development organisations in private. 


Nestlé’s human rights paper

Nestlé’s 'human rights white paper' entitled 'Talking the Human Rights Walk' launched in December 2013 claims 'strong implementation of the WHO International Code' as an example of it best practice and that its 'ability to engage in a thorough and constructive discussion with our stakeholders will be an important driver of our success.'

Maude Barlow, founder of the Blue Planet Project and chairperson of the Council of Canadians and Food & Water Watch said, 

The analysis is fundamentally flawed because it is a selective examination of corporate policy rather than corporate practice.

Baby Milk Action's analysis of the white paper is on our website (coming soon). 

● Nestlé is one of the world's most widely criticised corporations according to the Ethical Consumer Research Association: it receives an Ethiscore rating of 1 on a scale from 0 (worst) to 15 (best) due to the volume of reports of malpractice across its areas of operation.


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