Stakeholder engagement

Effective dialogue with our stakeholders is central to Creating Shared Value, both in terms of understanding opinions and concerns, and in delivering our commitments. Our stakeholder engagement programme helps us to shape responses to shared challenges, drive performance improvements, and ultimately strengthen collective action.

  • While we encourage our businesses to identify key stakeholders at a national level, our global engagement is co-ordinated centrally, through the Creating Shared Value Forum series and regular stakeholder convenings. Together, these are an important part of an engagement process that underpins our materiality assessment.

    The Creating Shared Value Forum focuses on the role of business in development, particularly as it relates to nutrition, rural development and water. The stakeholder convenings include additional issues specific to our company, including environmental sustainability, human rights, compliance and the delivery of our commitments, as well as our three Creating Shared Value focus areas – nutrition, water and rural livelihoods. Stakeholder convenings have taken place in 2007 (Geneva); 2008 (Washington DC); 2009 (Geneva and Kuala Lumpur); 2011 (New Delhi and London); 2012 (Nairobi and London); and 2013 (London).

    The outcomes of stakeholder convenings are fed back to senior management and taken into account in the development of our policies, commitments and actions for the following year. For instance, feedback from earlier convenings has been incorporated into our new Rural Development Framework and also led to our partnership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), in which we are currently working to identify and eliminate child labour in our cocoa supply chain. Feedback from the convenings also forms the basis for our materiality analysis.

    Stakeholder convening 2013

    Our London convening has become a regular event and in March 2013, we held our third convening there. Our objectives were to understand stakeholder expectations and concerns; report back on previous convenings; stimulate fresh thinking; review our new table of commitments; and prioritise key actions on Creating Shared Value, sustainability and compliance issues.

    The event was attended by more than 40 representatives of NGOs, government, academia and multilaterals. Our CEO, Paul Bulcke, attended the convening, in response to previous stakeholder requests for more senior management participation, along with Nestlé staff from our Vevey headquarters and the UK. The stakeholder participants made a number of recommendations (see below).

  • 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):

    • Academia
    • Communities
    • Consumers and the general public
    • Customers
    • Employees
    • Governments
    • Industry and trade associations
    • Intergovernmental organisations
    • NGOs
    • Reporting agencies
    • Shareholders and the financial community
    • Suppliers (including farmers and smallholders)
  • Think more about the interconnectivity of issues in order to increase the impact of Nestlé’s work Stakeholders asked Nestlé to articulate and leverage the connections between issues.
    They observed, for instance, that nutrition and rural development are closely linked, citing the example of children in cocoa-growing areas who suffer from stunted growth. Nutrition and the living wage are also linked (workers and farmers who cannot afford to feed their families); as are water and human rights (all people have a right to water and a right to sanitation).
    Convene NGOs, governments and competitors around Nestlé’s key priorities Stakeholders would like to see Nestlé use its influence and convening power to enable collaboration and partnerships in order to build ‘the enabling environment’. Also, stakeholders continue to expect Nestlé to do more to collaborate with its competitors on issues such as the living wage, where one company cannot ‘do it alone’.
    Be bolder in corporate communications as part of Nestlé’s leadership Stakeholders believe that as the world’s biggest food and beverage company, Nestlé has an obligation to participate in public debate, to mainstream Creating Shared Value as a way of doing business, and to inspire value chain partners and others towards a common purpose.
    Be clearer about how Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value policies, programmes and commitments are implemented into global operations There was a feeling that Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value work continues to be weighted too strongly towards our headquarters in Vevey. Stakeholders would like to see greater clarity on how Creating Shared Value is implemented and managed in the markets and businesses through decision-making, performance measurement processes, procurement contracts and other management tools.
    Make and publish commitments relating to Nestlé’s sphere of influence, as well as commitments relating to Nestlé’s sphere of control Stakeholders wanted to see commitments reflecting the full range of Nestlé’s work.
    For example, water commitments beyond factory operations, climate commitments that cover adaptation as well as mitigation, nutritional commitments across the human lifetime from pre-natal to old age, and human rights commitments with respect to influencing suppliers.
    Use Nestlé’s marketing power to educate and inspire citizen-consumers As with Nestlé’s corporate communications, stakeholders expect Nestlé to use its consumer communications to raise awareness of nutrition issues, human rights and environmental issues, and to help stimulate change in consumer behaviour on issues such as food waste or climate change.
  • The fifth Creating Shared Value Forum took place in Colombia in October 2013, with leading experts present to stimulate thought and open discussion.

    Read more about the CSV Global Forum