Nestlé publishes report on its breastmilk substitutes marketing practices

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé's report provides insight on its WHO Code compliance system.  Pic: Getty Images/onlyyouqj
Nestlé's report provides insight on its WHO Code compliance system. Pic: Getty Images/onlyyouqj

Related tags: Nestlé, Breastfeeding, Infant formula, Infant formula products, toddler formula

Nestlé has published its annual compliance report on its policy on the responsible marketing of breastmilk substitutes.

The report is based on compliance monitoring activities and virtual audits undertaken in the context of the global pandemic in 2020.

The report provides insight on Nestlé's WHO Code compliance system. The company said when cases of non-compliance are discovered, it “takes swift actions to address them.”

Leanne Geale, head of group legal, corporate governance and compliance, said, "Nestlé values the trust our consumers place in us, and we seek to maintain this trust through our commitment to a strong ethical culture. Nestlé actively encourages employees, business partners and stakeholders to report non-compliant behavior so we can act decisively and prevent their recurrence."

Nestlé said it has strengthened its system to report compliance concerns by launching Speak Up, a single global internal and external reporting channel for non-compliance concerns and questions, which is independently operated by a third party to ensure anonymity.

The company said it acknowledges that practices within and out of its sphere of influence, such as those implemented by its employees, distributors’ staff, and the interaction with the healthcare workers, remain areas of vigilance.

Nestlé said it will continue to leverage its network to continuously educate and train its employees and third-party staff on the importance of implementing the WHO Code.

In June, Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) published its fourth assessment​ of the marketing policies and practices of the world’s largest manufacturers of formulas and foods for infants and young children.

Nestlé, the market leader in sales value, retained second place behind Danone on the list with a score of 57%, an improvement on its score of 45% in 2018.

While some of the companies’ policies align to some extent to The Code, the ATNI said most make significant exclusions in relation to certain products and markets. For example, the policies of six companies the ATNI was able to assess all exclude growing-up milks and complementary foods from their scope. No company applies The Code’s recommendations in full, globally.

The ATNI added none of the six companies that make foods for infants and young children have extended their policies to incorporate guidance on ending inappropriate marketing of these products, to bring those policies into line with guidance published by the WHO in 2016 and endorsed by the WHA of that year when passing Resolution 69.9.

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