Nestlé is one of the most boycotted brands in the world. The International Nestlé-Free Week begins today to get those who already boycott to promote it and share their reasons with others and for those who don’t already boycott, to give it a try for just one week. Together we stand. Together we make change happen.
The primary reason that Nestlé has been boycotted so long and so widely is due to the aggressive marketing of infant formula around the world which violates the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, undermining breastfeeding and causing infant deaths. Nestlé’s marketing and business practices have directly and indirectly caused countless babies to die, most noticeably in developing nations. This part of the world is where the aggressive nature of Nestlé’s marketing becomes even more appalling and ultimately harmful.
Nestlé’s marketing strategies include:
- aggressively targeting medical professionals and giving free samples to hospitals.
- giving enough free samples to interfere with breastfeeding, but not enough to give an impoverished baby enough nutrition to be healthy and thrive.
- using misleading terms on their packaging that indicate its infant formula is better for babies than breastmilk like “protect” logos, claims it is ‘The new “Gold Standard” in infant nutrition’, and false claims of health benefits of using their infant formula.
- either not providing important information about the importance of using clean water, sterilized bottles, and the proper amount of formula in relation to water or it is not in the appropriate language.
Around the world, 1.5 million infants die each year because they were not breastfed. This is particularly striking in the developing world. Undermining breastfeeding for greater profits is a crime against babies, and us all.
This is not an issue about infant formula. Many people, for many reasons, have a great need to feed their babies formula and they should have safe options to do so. This is about corporate accountability, social responsibility, safety, and choice.
You might wonder if the boycott has made any significant impact. I would venture to say, not enough. We need more voices. But there have been strides made:
The boycott has:
- stopped Nestlé representatives from going into hospitals dressed as nurses.
- stopped Nestlé from putting pictures of babies on their labels.
- caused Nestlé to agree to translate warning on labels into the language of the country where the products are sold. (Even though this has not been found to be true in all cases.)
- exposed Nestlé for the human rights violator that it is to more and more people every day.
Interested in doing more?
- Avoid buying any Nestlé products this week, including for Halloween. Check out this very comprehensive list from Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess.
- Share what you have learned, what you know. Blog, Facebook, twitter, plus real in-person connections with friends and neighbors can make a huge difference.
- Send an email to Nestlé letting them know what you think about their marketing tactics and the boycott. Or go here or here if you want to see a suggested message.
- Check out Boo Nestle, Baby Milk Action, and PhD in Parenting for more information, research, and actions to take.
Stop by tomorrow for another reason we should say Boo to Nestlé, their use of child and slave labor! I will continue to explore the violations against humanity and their environment all week…