Ethical business

Upholding ethical principles in the way we do business and throughout our value chain is fundamental to the way we operate, and underpins consumer trust and our licence to operate. Our company values, which are rooted in respect, lie behind our efforts and our Corporate Business Principles and Code of Business Conduct clearly set out our responsibilities.

Our values: rooted in respect

  • Respect for ourselves. Respect starts with each of us, with self-respect and being true to ourselves, then acting with integrity, fairness and authenticity.
  • Respect for others. Respect for the people around us and all those we interact with creates a climate of mutual trust. This is about taking pride in living up to what we promise. It is about quality in our products, our brands and in everything we do.
  • Respect for diversity. Respect for other ways of thinking, other cultures, and all facets of society requires openness and inclusiveness in all our interactions both inside and outside our company.
  • Respect for the future. Respect for the world’s future and the generations who follow us compels us to act with responsibility and courage, even when difficult.


Bribery and corruption negatively impact on company performance, society and stakeholders’ perceptions. There is no room for deception, bribery, corruption, breach of confidence and abuse of power in our operations and throughout our organisation. We have a strong internal policy and made public commitments to work against corruption and bribery, and to ensure a culture of integrity across our organisation.

Recognising that these activities can and do occasionally arise in some markets, we aim to ensure that our commitments, policies and standards for combating bribery and corruption are clear, applicable for all employees, suppliers and customers, and widely communicated and understood. We clearly state our position on these issues through our Code of Business Conduct, Appendix on Anti-Corruption (pdf, 2Mb).

Consumer privacy

Protecting sensitive personal information about our consumers, as well as employees and other stakeholders, is of paramount importance for Nestlé. Our Privacy Policy features key principles that all employees and contractors of Nestlé companies must comply with when processing personal data, and we are drafting a Data Processing Standard that covers all personal data from collection to deletion.

Industry has also recognised the need for voluntary industry-wide principles on consumer privacy to promote an environment of trust on the way companies use consumer information collected digitally. Nestlé has led the development of the Consumer Goods Forum’s Consumer Engagement Principles and subscribes to them by integrating them into our global approach. We are preparing for a Nestlé-wide roll-out in 2017.

We continue to anticipate and respond to consumer expectations, guard against data security threats and adapt to changes to the regulatory landscape. In Europe, we are reviewing our policies and standards to ensure we meet the terms of the EU–U.S. Privacy Shield (pdf, 755Kb), which governs the transatlantic transfer of data, and working towards alignment with the General Data Protection Regulation when it comes into force in 2018.

Public policy and advocacy

Companies are playing an increasingly active role in society, and are often consulted in the process of developing policies and regulations. Today, businesses such as Nestlé are expected to participate in such activities.

Providing our expertise to inform decision-making, in a collaborative environment with governments, authorities and other relevant bodies, is an important responsibility. We have procedures in place that ensure engagement is conducted professionally and to high standards. Our policies, documents and reports are publicly available online, as are our positions on key issues (see Ask Nestlé).

Committed to transparency

Transparency and good faith underpins our engagement process, providing the basis for deeper dialogue, and, in turn, building knowledge and creating deeper understanding. We outline our expectations with employees through The Nestlé Policy on transparent interaction with authorities and organisations (pdf, 2.84Mb). We provide guidance to country-level Nestlé staff and we are preparing a global guideline for the end of 2017.

In Europe, we are listed in the European Union Transparency Register, which provides information about who is engaging with decision-makers, and follow its code of conduct; in the United States, we file quarterly public reports outlining our engagement activities with the US Congress.

We also maintain two websites that enable stakeholders to raise their concerns directly with us:

  • Ask Nestlé’, which is open to receive comments, questions or complaints from the general public; and
  • Tell us’, an online external grievance system.

Nestlé’s industry affairs guidelines

Due to the size and diversity of our business, and global presence of our operations, we are involved with many industry organisations and trade associations at all levels across our regions. Nestlé’s membership of these organisations requires subject matter expertise, committed resources, and strategic coordination and alignment across our business.

Our internal guidelines help markets manage these elements and lead industry agendas, in alignment with our corporate strategy. They provide a strategic and structured approach to industry affairs and specific recommendations for employees, guiding them in:

  • Understanding the industry landscape and the role of Nestlé, as an industry leader in these organisations;
  • Identifying and setting priorities, and selecting the relevant industry and trade organisations to deliver desired industry and societal outcomes; and
  • Developing rules of engagement with industry and trade organisations, and promoting good governance.

Related content

Find out more in our Creating Shared Value full report