Companies are increasingly playing an active role in society, including in the development of laws, rules and policy documents. Today, businesses (including Nestlé) are often expected and asked to participate in such activities. Providing our expertise to assist informed decision-making, working in collaboration with governments, authorities and other relevant bodies, is therefore an important responsibility. We have procedures in place that support consistent transparent interaction, and ensure that engagement is carried out professionally and with high standards. All of our policies are available to the public here, and we publish our positions on key issues, here.
Committed to transparency
Nestlé is listed in the European Union Transparency Register which gives citizens direct access to information on who engages with decision-makers and we follow the register’s code of conduct when interacting with EU institutions. In the USA, we file quarterly public reports with the US Congress which outline our engagement activities.
To ensure our employees behave consistently and transparently when they interact with stakeholders, we outline our expectations in the Nestlé Policy on transparent interaction with authorities and organisations (pdf, 3Mb). We provide training for all country-level public affairs staff at our International Training Centre in Rive Reine, Switzerland. In 2013, we launched ‘Tell Us’, an online external grievance system that enables our stakeholders to raise any concerns they may have with us directly.
Industry platforms and advocacy
With the increasing integration and sophistication of the value chain, business practices have become more complex and sophisticated. Nestlé believes that participating in industry collective efforts can help to raise industry standards, making an industry more efficient and successful. Our external stakeholders have also asked us to leverage our structure to coordinate action and influence best practice across the industry.
Employee guidelines for industry and trade associations
Due to our size, the diversity of our business and our presence in the market and across the world, we are heavily involved in many industry organisations and trade associations at all levels. Our efforts require expertise, resources, coordination and alignment across our business. To streamline the involvement of our employees, we have developed guidelines to help markets manage relationships, in alignment with corporate strategy.
Published in May 2014, the internal guidelines contain a structured approach and recommendations for participating in industry and trade associations, helping our employees to:
- Understand the association landscape;
- Set priorities and select the relevant industry associations; and
- Develop rules of engagement with industry associations.