Leading the way on corporate transparency: Nestlé’s latest report on breastmilk substitutes marketing practices




Nestlé has published on August 22, 2022, its annual compliance report (pdf, 3Mb) on its Policy on the responsible marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) (pdf, 5.2Mb). The report is based on compliance monitoring activities and audits undertaken in 2021.

The report provides insight on Nestlé’s robust WHO Code compliance system highlighting any risks and substantiated cases of non-compliance together with the swift and decisive actions that Nestlé takes to address them.

Leanne Geale, Head of Group Legal, Corporate Governance and Compliance, said: “Nestlé is committed to respecting the trust that parents, caregivers and other stakeholders place in us. I hope this report demonstrates to them how important it is to our company both to act responsibly when we market breast milk substitutes and swiftly address any compliance risks that may arise. At Nestlé, compliance means acting in accordance with our values and doing the right thing.”

The report emphasizes the rigorousness of Nestlé’s WHO Code compliance management system that relies on internal audits, internal monitoring and the ‘Speak Up’ Compliance Reporting system. Speak Up lets internal and external stakeholders raise concerns and questions, fostering transparency and enhancing compliance. All reported cases are thoroughly investigated and addressed.

Nestlé’s WHO Code Management System has been externally recognized through Nestlé’s continued inclusion in the FTSE4Good BMS Index and #2 ranking in the Access To Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) BMS Index. ATNI gave Nestlé an evaluation of ‘Highly Compliant’ in assessments conducted in the Philippines and Mexico.

Recognising that challenges remain both within and out of the company’s influence, Nestlé remains committed to continuous improvement. This includes a unilateral commitment to not promote infant formula for babies up to six months of age in all countries around the world. This will become effective as of January 1st, 2023 and is so far the only commitment of commercial significance in the industry. It is particularly relevant in the United States and Canada, two major markets where no regulations currently exist. This commitment is reflected in our updated Policy for Implementing the WHO Code, which will be published by year end. In addition we improved disclosure of our lobbying and advocacy (pdf, 950Kb) activities on the responsible marketing of BMS.

Protecting and supporting breastfeeding, as well as securing the best possible nutrition for children around the world are shared goals that require the commitment and action of industry, healthcare professionals, governments, civil society organizations and many more. Nestlé will continue to leverage its network of experts to continuously educate and train its employees and third-party staff on sound nutrition, including the importance of implementing the WHO Code.