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Stakeholder engagement

We engage with, listen to and respond to a wide range of stakeholders on a regular basis. Through meaningful engagement, our stakeholders have helped us improve and set the priorities for our Creating Shared Value strategy.

Engaging with stakeholders to make a bigger impact

Our global stakeholder network includes people we engage with regularly through our operations and those in public positions who influence our activities. They include employees, consumers, suppliers, communities, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), shareholders, trade associations and academia.

Our stakeholder convenings, workshops and other events provide opportunities to deepen that dialogue, building on our understanding of important societal issues. The interaction helps our teams to develop the capability of our people, facilitates collective action and promotes trust and mutual respect. Outcomes from such dialogue are fed back to senior management through the Nestlé in Society Board.

We also conduct a Nestlé Stakeholder Community survey. This is an annual survey with global Key Opinion Leaders that aims to understand evolving views on the company’s issues and reputation management.

Our stakeholder groups

Nestlé identifies the following groups as fundamental to our continuing business success:

  • Academia
  • Communities
  • Consumers and the general public
  • Customers
  • Employees and their representatives
  • Governments
  • Industry and trade associations
  • Intergovernmental organizations
  • NGOs
  • Reporting agencies
  • Shareholders and the financial community
  • Suppliers (including farmers and smallholders)

Engagement activities in 2019

In March 2019, we hosted a Nestlé Stakeholder Convening in London, which was attended by approximately 70 stakeholders as well as Nestlé S.A. CEO Mark Schneider, two members of Nestlé’s Executive Board and 15 employees. Three themes were covered during the two-day convening: Nutrition in the First 1000 Days, Diversity and Inclusion, and Plastic Packaging. Highlights from the three dialogues are provided in the following table.

 

Nutrition in the First 1000 Days

Key recommendations and observations

  • Acknowledge Nestlé’s history around infant formula and clearly communicate intent and progress to become a leader in first 1000 days nutrition.
  • Nestlé should be clear where it positions itself vis-à-vis the WHO Code.
  • Work with stakeholders to better influence through advocacy.
  • There is an urgent need for more research and data.
  • Nestlé should consider adopting consistent metrics in both low- and high-risk countries.
  • Stakeholders to work with Nestlé to consider how they can incentivize leadership in this area.
  • There is a need to follow up on instances where ‘fake news’ around Nestlé advocacy is perpetuated.
  • A collaborative effort is needed.

Diversity and Inclusion

Key recommendations and observations

  • Nestlé has a role to play to challenge and disrupt what is currently considered ‘normal’ in terms of diversity and inclusion (D&I).
  • Nestlé needs to establish a common language to discus D&I.
  • There is a need to reach out to new stakeholder communities to raise the bar on D&I.
  • Senior leaders should experience the different realities and perspectives of a variety of people to work against unconscious biases and to empower ‘silent’ groups to speak up.
  • Individual needs need to be considered to empower growth.
  • Nestlé must lead by example, with a culture and values that promote D&I.
  • Leaders, across many companies, must be held accountable for acting inclusively.
  • Nestlé brands must be advertised and marketed in a way that demonstrates an alignment with the diversity we want to see within Nestlé.

Plastic Packaging

Key recommendations and observations

  • A systems approach is needed, where plastic sustainability and circularity are considered as part of a wider effort to improve company sustainability.
  • Nestlé has a role to play as a host in bringing key stakeholders together to enable systems change.
  • Nestlé must consider both the short-term action to stop plastic leakage at source and the long-term action to develop alternative materials and explore new business and ownership models.
  • There is a need for authoritative and ‘myth-busting’ communication on the value of plastics.
  • Solutions for materials and collection systems need to be simpler and designed for local situations.

In addition, we organized two Stakeholder Workshops on Responsible Sourcing in November 2019. Each workshop was attended by approximately 25 external stakeholders, including NGOs, academia, investors, suppliers and customers, and will help evolve our thinking around two critical responsible sourcing topics: forest conservation and living income.

The first workshop, held in London, focused on the topic of forest conservation and smallholder farmers. Key conclusions included:

  • Deforestation has not been properly internalized in the way that commodity markets operate.
  • A better understanding of these externalities and how current farming and commercial processes drive them is required.
  • A better understanding of how to incentivize farming communities to conserve forests and their wider societal, cultural and political context is also required.
  • Addressing deforestation will require more holistic ‘landscape’ approaches.

The second workshop, held in Geneva, focused on improving the livelihoods and living income of smallholder farmers. Key conclusions included:

  • Improving livelihoods and incomes amongst smallholder farmers is complex and must be addressed through multiple interventions.
  • Challenges are multi-faceted, including at farm, societal and market levels and must be addressed through coordinated actions by a range of different entities – companies, civil society groups and government.
  • There is a need to move from a commodity by commodity approach to addressing farmer income and welfare issues to ‘landscapes’ approach.

 

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Creating Shared Value Progress Report