Inclusive and accountable governance

We want to be the trusted leader in our sector. Building our business on clear principles and sound governance helps us maintain trust in Nestlé and reduce risk throughout our value chain. In addition to our internal governance structures, we also take a wider, more inclusive approach, with advice from external advisory groups.

The Nestlé Corporate Business Principles

We regulate the way we operate using the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles (pdf, 1.1Mb), which form the basis of our culture, our values and our Creating Shared Value strategy. Available in more than 50 languages, all employees must comply with them through the ongoing implementation of relevant business codes, policies, processes and tools. We monitor their application and effectiveness through various channels, including our CARE audits, and have a formal public commitment to provide employees with training on the principles.

Our Corporate Business Principles are reviewed by our Executive Board and aligned with international best practice and standards such as the UN Global Compact (UNGC) Principles.

We are also guided by:

  • The Nestlé Supplier Code, which sets out the minimum standards we require our suppliers, and their suppliers, to adhere to; and
  • The Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Guideline, which helps our suppliers to improve practices, where necessary, at farm or plantation level, and ensure they meet or exceed internationally recognised standards.

Read more about the Supplier Code and RSG.

Our internal governance structure

The Board of Directors, the Chairman, CEO and Executive Board are responsible for the supervision and management of our role in society, and for the Creating Shared Value strategy. They are supported by internal management bodies such as the Nestlé in Society Board, as well as the Operations Sustainability Council, Issues Round Table, R&D Council for Sustainability and Nutrition, and the Group Compliance Committee.

Internal governance structure


The Nestlé in Society Board

The Nestlé in Society Board is chaired by our CEO. It leads the strategic development and implementation of Creating Shared Value across our business, including for all societal commitments, objectives and strategies, and reverts to the Executive Board for input and confirmation.

Specifically, the board works to:

  • Ensure all activities and workstreams align with Nestlé’s positioning in society;
  • Assess and draw appropriate conclusions from societal developments affecting Nestlé; and
  • Further strengthen our credentials in Creating Shared Value, environmental sustainability and compliance.

See our Annual Report and Corporate Governance Report for more information about our governance and advisory structure.

Nominations and Sustainability Committee

Our new Nominations and Sustainability Committee reviews the annual Nestlé in society report. Its members also periodically discuss how other material, non-financial issues affect the company’s financial performance and how our long-term strategy relates to our ability to create shared value.

It also reviews our shareholder base and other significant stakeholders, and their material interests.

External advisory groups

Our internal governance structure is supported, through a wider, more inclusive approach, with advice from external advisory groups.

The Nestlé Creating Shared Value Council

Chaired by Janet Voûte, the Nestlé CSV Council comprises 13 external members, whose expertise spans corporate social responsibility, strategy, sustainability, nutrition, water and rural development. The group advises Nestlé management on implementing Creating Shared Value and assesses our progress. Council members also participate in Nestlé’s CSV Global Forum and form the judging panel for the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize.

  • Nancy Birdsall is the founding President of the Center for Global Development. Before founding the Center, she served for three years as Senior Associate and Director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From 1993 to 1998, she was Executive Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank. Before joining the Inter-American Development Bank, she spent 14 years in research, policy and management positions at the World Bank.

    Robert E. Black is Chairman of the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has devoted his research and professional activities to reducing the number of unnecessary child deaths from diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria, measles and malnutrition. His many studies are also focused on the impact of nutrition programmes in developing countries and the strengthening of public health training.

    John Elkington is co-founder of SustainAbility, and Founding Partner and Director of Volans. He is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development. In 2004, BusinessWeek described him as “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades” and in 2008, The Evening Standard named John among the “1 000 Most Influential People” in London, describing him as “a true green business guru” and “an evangelist for corporate social and environmental responsibility long before it was fashionable”.

    José Lopez is a senior leader with 36 years of general management and operational experience in the FMCG industry. Most recently, he held the role of Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, at Nestlé SA, until his retirement in September 2015. His previous roles in the company include Chairman and CEO of Nestlé Japan Ltd and Managing Director of Nestlé Malaysia & Singapore. He has recently become a Fellow of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the Executive in Residence at IMD Lausanne.

    Venkatesh Mannar is former President of the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), having overseen the implementation of MI’s global mandate to support national actions to eliminate micronutrient malnutrition. MI’s works in collaboration with major international agencies, national governments, private industry and NGOs to expand and strengthen national programmes through a combination of technical, operational and funding support.

    Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o was formerly Professor of Food Science and Nutrition at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya and adjunct Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University in the USA. She is also Founder and Executive Director of the Rural Outreach Program Kenya, as well as Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development. She has published and communicated widely on household food and nutritional security, and women’s nutrition and children’s health. She works on rural developments focused on women smallholder farmers and is a former member of parliament in Kenya.

    Prabhu Pingali is Professor and Director of the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition initiative at Cornell University and Full Professor in Applied Economics. He has more than 25 years of experience in assessing the extent and impact of technical change in developing agriculture in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He was formerly the Deputy Director of the Agriculture Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Director of the Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and earned a PhD in Economics from North Carolina State University in 1982.

    Michael E. Porter is Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at the Harvard Business School. He is a leading authority on competitive strategy, the competitiveness and economic development of nations, states and regions, and the application of competitive principles to social problems such as healthcare, the environment and corporate responsibility.

    Robert L. Thompson is a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC. He is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and an international authority on agricultural development and international agricultural trade policy. He is a Senior Fellow of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and serves on the USDA-USTR Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade and the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council. Formerly, he was Director of Rural Development at the World Bank, Dean of Agriculture at Purdue University, and Assistant Secretary for Economics at the US Department of Agriculture.

    Ajay Vashee was, most recently, President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), which represented farmers at the world level. Elected at the 38th IFAPWorld Farmers’ meeting in June 2008, he was the first President from a developing country (Zambia).

    Ann M. Veneman has a distinguished career in public service. She served as Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) from 2005 to 2010, prior to which she was US Secretary of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005. She also served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1995 to 1999, overseeing the state agency responsible for the United States’ largest agricultural producing region. From 1986 to 1993, she served in various positions in the USDA, including Deputy Secretary, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, and Associate Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service. Veneman’s leadership and vision has been recognised both nationally and internationally. In 2009 she was named to the Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and honours. In 2016 she received the Women Making History Award from the National Women’s History Museum. Veneman currently serves on a number of boards of directors, advisory councils, committees and non-profit boards. She is a frequent speaker on a range of topics including poverty alleviation, empowering women and girls, food security and nutrition and global health.

    Janet Voûte is the Chairperson of the Creating Shared Value Council and a member of the Board of Bupa (the British United Provident Association) as well as Bamboo Finance. Previously she was a member of the International Integrated Reporting Council and served as Global Head of Public Affairs at Nestlé. She also served as Partnership Advisor at the World Health Organization in the area of non-communicable diseases and mental health and as CEO of the World Heart Federation. She was formerly Vice President and Partner at Bain & Company.

    Alexander J.B. Zehnder is the Scientific Director of the Alberta Water Research Institute in Edmonton, Canada, founder and director of Triple Z Ltd, Visiting Professor at NTU, and Professor Emeritus of ETH Zurich. His major knowledge areas comprise qualitative and quantitative aspects of water, water policy, the relation between food and water security, virtual water trade, water infrastructures; scientific and economic fundamentals for sustainable development; developing capital market instruments; microbiology; managing small and medium enterprises and large public institutions and universities.


The Nestlé Nutrition Council

The Nestlé Nutrition Council, an independent advisory panel of leading international nutrition scientists, meets twice a year to advise our senior management team on nutrition challenges and their potential impact on our policies and strategy. It also challenges the reviews of our research programmes, and organises the annual Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium. The Council is chaired by Executive Vice President Stefan Catsicas.

Read the profiles of the Nestlé Nutrition Council members here.


Related content

Find out more in our Creating Shared Value full report