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Fostering a culture of business ethics

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For Nestlé to be successful over time, we must earn the trust of our employees, consumers, customers, suppliers, shareholders and wider society.

This depends on us acting with integrity at all times and upholding our commitments.


Our ethical culture is reinforced by training and third-party monitoring

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Our strategic approach to compliance

Integrity and fairness are part of everything that we do, enabled by robust governance, monitoring and risk management. We take a coordinated, holistic and risk-based approach. We focus on four strategic areas, laid out below, while constantly looking for opportunities to improve and automate our systems and processes within these areas.

  • 1. Compliance governance and culture
    Our strong culture of business ethics is led and driven by senior management.

    We are determined to ensure that our policies, standards and procedures enable Nestlé to conduct business in an ethical and principles-based manner.

    Supported by a robust governance system and processes, we believe we can fulfill our business requirements, meet societal evolution and expectations and reinforce a culture where everyone feels confident to Speak Up.
    Business trainee on computer
  • 2. Communication and training: dissemination of processes and tools
    We run an annual communication campaign to share ethics and compliance guidance, as well as information about our compliance culture, principles and values.

    We continually develop training materials to support and monitor this process.
    Employee analysing bottles in factory.
  • 3. Monitoring and reporting
    Our global CARE Audit Program is our internal compliance audit process. It aims to ensure all our employees, and sites operated by Nestlé, comply with local legislation, our Corporate Business Principles and our Code of Business Conduct.

    External auditors assess compliance with our Corporate Business Principles against seven pillars: conditions of work and employment, business integrity, safety and health, environmental sustainability, security, local communities, and labor accommodation.

    In addition, we have recently issued our evolved Human Rights Framework and Roadmap. This provides a comprehensive framework to continue developing our preventive measures to protect human rights in our business relations with third parties.
    Employee monitoring river water
  • 4. Closing gaps
    We continually assess our risks to identify the priorities and focus areas of our Compliance Program. We also monitor ethical discussions, consequence management and action plans and ensure that everything is implemented as promised.
    Inspector in factory
  • 5. Better automation of systems and processes
    We support all our compliance activities with continuous improvement of digital tools that support effective and actionable monitoring and reporting.
    Employee in factory


The right to Speak Up

We provide Nestlé employees and all other external stakeholders with a dedicated communication channel, Speak Up, for reporting non-compliance concerns. This single global internal and exporting channel is independently operated by a third party to ensure anonymity when requested. 

Every allegation is professionally and confidentially handled. Of the 2 475 messages received in 2021, 580 were substantiated. As a consequence of substantiated cases, 133 employees had to leave the company and six service providers’ contracts were terminated.


Integrity is embedded in our business practices

We conduct business in an ethical and principle-based manner, even in the absence of applicable regulatory requirements. Our commitments to integrity, fairness and authenticity are enshrined in our company’s purpose and values, our Corporate Business Principles and our Code of Business Conduct.

Taking a stand with our Corporate Business Principles 

The Nestlé Corporate Business Principles (English - pdf, 4Mb) are mandatory for all Nestlé employees and are integrated into our business planning, activities, operations, performance reviews and auditing.

Where our own principles and policies differ from local legislation the higher standard applies. Our Compliance Program supports the continuous development and implementation of the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles based on ethics, integrity and a ‘doing the right thing for the right reason’ mindset.

Employees sampling river water

A strong Code of Business Conduct

The Nestlé Code of Business Conduct specifies certain non-negotiable minimum standards in key areas of employee behavior, including integrity, compliance with laws, conflicts of interests, antitrust and fair dealing, bribery, corruption (UNGC Principle 10), discrimination and harassment, and accurate reporting and accounting.

Employees in factory
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