Responsible advertising and pledges

Location: Global

Impact Area

  • Nutrition
  • Water
  • Rural Development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Compliance
  • Community engagement
  • Gender balance & diversity
Mar 31, 2014, updated March 2014

Responsible advertising and pledges
ADVERTISING TO CHILDREN:Nestlé has committed to voluntarily restrict advertising to children under 12 in print, on television and online.

As a nutrition, health and wellness company, we have a responsibility to promote our products in ways that encourage balanced consumption, especially by children. We want to ensure that all Nestlé products are always advertised responsibly, which we do by adhering to detailed policies and principles, and voluntarily signing up to industry pledges covering more than 50 countries.

We commit to global compliance with our Consumer Communication Principles and Marketing Communication to Children Policy.

We comply with the International Food and Beverage Alliance Global Policy on Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children.

We have signed voluntary pledges on the marketing of foods to children covering over 50 countries and in 2013, our EU Pledge compliance rate was 98.5%.

Programme description

In 2008, with growing awareness of the effects of advertising on children, we introduced our Marketing Communication to Children Policy. The policy, updated in September 2011, states that we do not directly advertise or market our products towards children under six years of age. Advertising to children aged six to 12 is restricted to products with a nutritional profile that helps them achieve a healthy, balanced diet, including limits for sugar, salt and fat. To reflect an ever-changing world, we regularly review and update these principles and policies, and we will be updating our policy in 2014.

We have processes in place to ensure global compliance with our Consumer Communication Principles and Marketing Communication to Children Policy. They include:


  • Guidelines that explain: The restrictions on advertising products that do not fulfil Nestlé’s Nutritional Foundation criteria; how to brief our advertising and media agencies; and the conditions to meet if we sponsor an event.
  • A marketing monitoring system that reports annually on all television, print, digital and school event marketing to our internal audit group, which flags any non-compliance situations directly to the Executive Board.


  • The International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA) pledge is monitored by Accenture and covers TV, print and online advertising, and company-owned websites (including corporate and brand-owned websites) aimed at children under 12 years;
  • Monitoring of the EU Pledge by Accenture (TV, print, online), the independent research consultancy BDRC Continental (schools), and the European Advertising Standards Alliance (company-owned websites); and
  • National Pledge signatories are required to monitor and report on commitments in a transparent and accountable manner. Ideally independent compliance monitoring of the local pledge should be commissioned and results reported.

Value to Society

Our policies are guided by a series of global, regional and national commitments and pledges that aim to establish industry consensus on minimum standards for marketing to children.

IFBA commitment

As a member of the IFBA, Nestlé is committed to comply with their Global Policy on Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children. Each year, IFBA engages a third party to monitor and report publicly on members’ compliance with the Global Policy. In 2013, the report was based on a review of close to 247 television adverts, reviewed over a three-month period across nine countries – Brazil, China (Shanghai region), Colombia, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand. 50 print publications and 86 websites were reviewed across five countries – Brazil, China (Shanghai region), Russia, Singapore and South Africa. Nestlé’s overall IFBA Pledge compliance rate in 2013 was 98.7% for television, and 100% for print and online.

National and regional pledges

National and regional pledges, based on the IFBA Global Policy, have been launched around the world to encourage food companies that are not IFBA members to improve the types of products advertised to children and promote balanced diets and healthy, active lifestyles. It will also enable the monitoring of both compliance and impact at a local level. To date, we have signed voluntary pledges on the marketing of foods to children covering more than 50 countries.


In August 2013, as part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to supporting healthy, active lifestyles, the Malaysian Food Manufacturing Group launched the Responsible Advertising to Children – Malaysia pledge. Each of the signatories, including Nestlé, developed their own nutritional criteria and published individual company commitments that supported the pledge by 1 January 2014.


On 31 December 2013, the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative introduced uniform nutritional criteria in the USA. These replaced the previous, company-specific nutrition criteria for child-directed advertising. They will be reviewed periodically, such as when the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are issued, and updated if necessary.


From December 2014 the EU Pledge – a voluntary initiative by leading food and beverage companies to change the way they advertise to children – will include common nutritional criteria to encourage the advertising of healthier products. In 2013, our EU Pledge compliance rate was 98.5%. The EU Pledge and the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation already have nutritional criteria for advertising directed at children under the age of 12, and we are committed to applying the stricter of the two nutrition criteria.

In 2013, the European Heart Network conducted a project which compared the EU Pledge criteria to existing schemes in Europe. They found that the EU Pledge criteria were effectively equivalent to the other schemes used for advertising to children (e.g. the UK criteria).

Value to Nestlé

Next Steps

We will continue to review and update our principles to ensure that all our products are advertised in a legal and honest way.