In response, in 1981 NGO's, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, formula companies, and scientists got together and created a code of ethics on marketing infant formula and bottles. The basic gist of the agreement was:
1. Marketing couldn't directly or indirectly target the consumer (no free samples given to pregnant women or parents at all), but advertising about formula can be given to providers (doctors and nurses);
2. Literature on infant feeding must be provided by the government, not formula companies and all donations of money or equipment by formula companies to health care providers must be done openly and without special benefits.
To view the entire WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, click here (pdf).
This code, however, is not law, and the formula companies disregard it. Nestle, who owns Carnation, especially, disregards these rules in countries all over the world, and this is a big reason for the Nestle product ban. They, along with many other companies, advertise heavily to doctors and hospitals, giving money, equipment and free products. They also directly advertise to consumers through the mail and provide discharge packs for new moms leaving the hospital full of formula samples and brochures on how "formula is just as good as breast milk."
Overview of Nestlé’s Unethical Business Practices
via phdinparentin's excellent post on this topic
Nestlé is accused by experts of unethical business practices such as:
- Promoting infant formula with misleading and harmful strategies that violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and put babies at risk (see Baby Milk Action’s Briefing on Nestle Updated July 2010 and the Boycott Nestle – and other action to protect infant health blog);
- Using suppliers that violate human rights (e.g purchasing milk from Mugabe, buying cocoa from suppliers that use child slaves) and destroy the environment (e.g. palm oil from rainforest);
- Controlling and abusing of water sources in its bottled water operations (e.g. in United States and in Brazil);
- Promoting unhealthy food, especially for young children;
- Trade union busting activities and denying the rights of workers to collectively bargain;
- …and more (see Nestle Critics Portal and Corporate Watch: Nestle SA: Corporate Crimes).
The Nestlé boycott has been going on for more than 30 years and Nestlé is still one of the three most boycotted companies in Britain. Although Nestlé officials would like to claim that the boycott has ended, it is still very much alive. But it needs to get bigger in order to have a greater impact.
Nestlé owns a lot of brands and is the biggest food company in the world, so people wishing to boycott their brands need to do a bit of homework first to familiarize themselves with the brand names to avoid in the stores.
SPREAD THE MESSAGE #noNESTLE