Engaging with our stakeholders underpins our actions in Creating Shared Value, enabling us to identify emerging issues, shape our responses, and continue to drive performance improvements.
Nestlé’s approach to stakeholder engagement
Our global stakeholder network is vast. It ranges from people we regularly engage with as part of our operations, to those whose public positions influence our activities. We identify the following groups as fundamental to our continuing business success (in alphabetical order) and aspire to deeper stakeholder engagement with them.
- Consumers and general public
- Industry and trade associations
- Inter-governmental organisations
- Non-governmental organisations
- Reporting agencies
- Shareholders and the financial community
- Suppliers (including farmers and smallholders)
What issues concern our stakeholders?
We encourage our businesses to identify the stakeholders that are most important to their business at a national level. Our engagement at the global level is coordinated centrally, through the CSV Forum and stakeholder convenings. These stakeholder events inform our materiality process.
On 5 November, we held our 2012 Global CSV Forum in New Delhi, India. The Forum, co-hosted with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), aimed to highlight the value of CSV particularly in South Asia. Opinion leaders from South Asia and beyond discussed how governments worldwide could work with civil society and business to boost long-term sustainable economic development. More than 450 government, civil society and business representatives took part.
All the sessions were webcast and are available to watch on demand.
Regular stakeholder convenings covering CSV and critical environmental and social issues form an important part of our engagement processes in combination with our Creating Shared Value (CSV) Forum series (see above). While the CSV Forum focuses on the role of business in development – particularly as it relates to nutrition, water and rural development, stakeholder convenings are more focused on issues specific to our company, including accountability and delivering our commitments.
In the past, we have held stakeholder convenings in:
- 2007 – Geneva
- 2008 – Washington DC
- 2009 – Geneva, Kuala Lumpur
- 2011 – New Delhi, London
From 2011, we decided to hold two convenings annually – one in London, and the other in a city in an alternating emerging market – this year, in Nairobi. In 2013, we plan to hold the stakeholder convenings in London and Jakarta.
Our objectives in 2012, were to understand stakeholder expectations and concerns; report back on previous convenings; and stimulate fresh thinking and prioritise key actions on Creating Shared Value, sustainability and compliance issues.
The convenings, which were facilitated by SustainAbility, were attended by more than 60 external expert stakeholders from multi-lateral agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industry associations, government representatives, farmer associations, academics, investors and social entrepreneurs. The convenings were also attended by Nestlé staff from its headquarters and the host country.
The stakeholders were drawn from a wide range of NGOs, academic centres, governmental and intergovernmental organisations, think tanks, consultancies and social enterprises working in Nestlé's CSV focus areas of nutrition, water and rural development, as well as human rights and compliance. They represented a range of stimulating and challenging views and perspectives. Many, but not all, had prior relationships with Nestlé.
Overall, stakeholders recommended the following:
- Leadership: stakeholders want us to act as a good example, and stimulate action among our peers, particularly in areas such as natural capital, child labour, human rights, and responsible sourcing.
- Competition versus collaboration: stakeholders want us to examine where we should compete to drive innovation and change, but collaborate to drive scale.
- Ambitions: stakeholders want us to set more ambitious goals (such as those we already have for no deforestation and no child labour) for many other CSV focus areas.
- Vision and context: stakeholders want to get a better sense of how our vision, context, goals, and programmes came about and fit together.
- Transparency: stakeholders acknowledge our work in transparency – particularly on FTSE4Good, GRI A+ reporting and our partnership with the Fair Labor Association. However, they want us to be more open about the problems we’re facing and the journey we’re taking.
- Government engagement: stakeholders want us to align and work more closely with governments, particularly on nutrition issues.
- Make use of our scale and marketing power: stakeholders want us to use our knowledge, scale and marketing power to make a positive impact on consumers and to scale up solutions.
The outputs of the convenings are fed back to senior management and will be taken into account in our strategies and actions for 2013. They have already been incorporated into the new Rural Development Framework. Feedback from the convenings in earlier years has also led to our partnership with the Fair Labor Association.