Fostering a culture of business ethics
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
Our strategic approach to compliance
Integrity and fairness are part of everything that we do, enabled by robust governance, monitoring and risk management.
We focus on four strategic areas, while constantly looking for opportunities to improve and automate our systems and processes.
1. Compliance governance and cultureOur 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, principles-based and sustainable manner.
Supported by a robust governance system and processes, we believe we can fulfill our business requirements, meet expectations around societal evolution and reinforce a culture where everyone feels confident to speak up if they encounter something that concerns them.
2. Communication and training: dissemination of processes and toolsWe run an annual communication campaign to share ethics and compliance guidance and information about our compliance culture, principles and values.
We are continually developing training materials to support and monitor this process.
3. Monitoring and reportingOur global CARE Audit Program is our internal compliance audit process. It aims to verify that 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 a Human Rights Framework and Roadmap. This provides a comprehensive framework to continue developing our preventive measures to protect human rights across our value chain, which includes our operations, farmers and communities in our supply chain, and consumers of our products.
4. Closing gapsWe continually assess our risks to identify the priorities and focus areas of our strategic approach, and ensure that ethical discussions, consequence management and action plans are duly implemented. We also support all our compliance activities with continuous improvement of digital tools.
The right to Speak Up
We provide Nestlé employees and all other external stakeholders with a dedicated communication channel, Speak Up, for reporting any non-compliance concerns they encounter – from unfair treatment to safety issues, bribery and corruption, human rights abuses and anything else that worries them. Speak Up is independently operated by a third party to ensure anonymity when requested.
Every allegation is professionally and confidentially handled. In 2022, the channel received 2 516 messages, of which 578 were substantiated. As a consequence of the substantiated cases, 154 employees had to leave the company and 11 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. Where our own principles and policies differ from local legislation, we apply whichever is the higher standard. Our commitment to integrity, fairness and authenticity are enshrined in our 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, operations, performance reviews and audit processes.
These principles are continually reviewed and updated, based on ethics, integrity and a ‘doing the right thing for the right reason’ mindset.
A strong Code of Business Conduct
The Nestlé Code of Business Conduct specifies certain non-negotiable minimum standards in key areas of employee behavior.
These areas include integrity, compliance with laws, conflicts of interests, antitrust and fair dealing, bribery, corruption (UNGC Principle 10), discrimination and harassment, and accurate reporting and accounting.