Marketing of breast milk substitutes

Our commitment: Market breast-milk substitutes responsibly

Our objectives

Ongoing – As part of our ongoing efforts to promote good nutrition in the first 1 000 days of life and support breastfeeding, report publicly on our progress regarding the responsible marketing of breast-milk substitutes.

By 2014 – Ensure our newly acquired Wyeth Nutrition Infant Formula business meets the FTSE4Good Index criteria.

By 2015 – Continue to strengthen our practices to ensure both Nestlé Infant Nutrition and Wyeth Infant Nutrition consistently meet the FTSE4Good Index BMS criteria.

Our progress

We have been included in the FTSE4Good Index since 2011, the only global responsible investment index with clear criteria on the marketing of breast-milk substitutes (BMS) up to 12 months of age in 152 higher-risk countries. Policies and procedures applied by our Wyeth Infant Nutrition business are now aligned with the requirements stemming from the FTSE4Good BMS Marketing Criteria.

In 2014, our practices were audited in 39 countries by internal auditors and in four countries by external auditors.

Building on these and previous years’ recommendations, we have strengthened training for third-party distributors and their requirements to comply with national legislation and the Nestlé Policy and Instructions for Implementation of the WHO Code. We also enhanced our systems for the reporting of concerns, largely by external stakeholders, through the ‘Tell us’ system (See Ensure that all employees and stakeholders can easily report possible compliance violations).

Our perspective

We believe breast-milk is the best food for infants and this is why we promote it. However, there are still numerous barriers to breastfeeding. When, in consultation with their healthcare providers, mothers and families decide that optimal breastfeeding is not possible, infant formula – the only suitable breast-milk substitute recognised by the WHO – plays a vital role in providing essential nutrients to infants. We are committed to the highest standards of responsible marketing of BMS and comply with the WHO Code as implemented by national governments as well as the Nestlé Policy and Instructions for Implementation of the WHO Code. We pledge to apply the most rigorous policies and systems to monitor our practices. As we seek to continuously improve, we encourage stakeholders to share with us their comments. In 2015, we will pursue our efforts to create a conducive environment for our employees who breastfeed. We will also continue to engage with key stakeholders to increase collaboration, promote responsible conduct and establish an accepted standard for assessing the commercialisation of breast-milk substitutes.

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As per existing company practices, internal audits of newly acquired businesses slightly differed upon acquisition to allow time for integration of policies and practices. Wyeth Nutrition will be included in the standard audit cycle along with the business starting from 2015 onwards.

In pictures: Supporting optimal infant nutrition