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Our global approach to advocacy

Mountains and lake

We believe that the private sector has an important role to play in helping build healthy lives and a healthy planet. 

The purpose of our advocacy is to find common ground and act with stakeholders. We work together with all interested parties (industry, governments, civil society, consumers, etc.) to foster an open dialogue and support multi-stakeholders' actions to help deliver bold positive outcomes for both business and society. 

We will continue to provide constructive and science-based support to government policy efforts to improve nutrition and health within their constituencies, leveraging our global R&D network and scientific knowledge in our interactions with policy makers wherever appropriate. We favor transparent scientific dialogues with all experts from all parties and respect independent, peer-reviewed science.


Leading where it matters

2030 Water Resources Group
CGF Forest Positive Coalition
One Planet Business for Biodiversity
Farmer planting trees

 

Shaping our priorities  

Nestlé is striving to co-create a resilient future for the planet and its people. We are on a journey to advance regenerative food systems at scale. This means supporting the development of food systems that aim to protect, renew and restore the environment, improving the livelihoods of farmers and enhancing the resilience and well-being of farming communities. 

We know this is an ambitious journey that we cannot do alone. We work with others and use our business and scientific knowledge and resources to move us forward. Multiple considerations shape our advocacy priorities, amongst which include:

  • Our long-term business and societal strategy
  • Internal cross-functional alignment on the themes to focus on at global level, and their regional and local 'cascading' to fit the business context and ensure relevance (combined top-down and bottom-up perspectives)
  • Internal policies and guidelines (please refer to our related policies and guidelines)
  • External consultations with / listening to key stakeholders

To advance our advocacy priorities we rely on an extensive network of Nestlé employees from markets, Nestlé businesses and Center function, and who are involved in advocacy programs.


 

Our advocacy themes

We work to bring affordable, safe, and high-quality nutrition to everyone, regardless of income level, taking advantage of our long-standing presence around the world. We advocate for sustainable diets for all:

  • Best food safety processes for all
  • Product formulation - this includes reducing public health sensitive nutrients (sugars, sodium and saturated fats) and increasing positives such as whole grains, vegetables and micronutrients
  • Transparent nutrition information to consumers (on-pack labelling and digital)
  • Responsible marketing to children
  • Micronutrient fortification to help address under-nutrition
  • Good nutrition in the first 1 000 days and supporting governments and Civil Society Organizations in the implementation of the WHO Code and subsequent relevant resolutions in a law
  • Healthy hydration: Choose water
  • Promoting in-store and out-of-home healthy food environments

We engage in climate-related advocacy to encourage rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through government policies and private sector leadership. 

As set out in Nestlé's Net Zero Roadmap (pdf, 8Mb), we will continue to advocate for ambitious government policies and private sector leadership to ensure all sectors move more quickly towards rapid and sustained reductions in carbon emissions:

  • Fighting deforestation
  • Reducing food loss and waste
  • GHG emissions
  • Regenerative agriculture and tree planting
  • Fostering biodiversity
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Effective water policies and stewardship
  • Access to water, sanitation and hygiene

In addition to advocating for more progressive macro level approaches to climate policy by governments and companies, the two main focus areas for our advocacy activities are:

Advocating for clear and fair rules on

  • Natural climate solutions (insetting)
  • Environmental claims
  • Carbon pricing & markets and offsetting

Policies to transform industries

  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Logistics and infrastructure
  • Packaging

  • Respecting and promoting human rights
  • Enhancing rural development and livelihoods
  • Promoting decent employment and diversity (gender balance, women empowerment, etc.)
  • Promoting youth employment globally

Good nutrition in the first 1 000 days is an important advocacy area for Nestlé. We stand ready to support, alongside civil society organizations, advocacy for the effective implementation of the WHO Code and subsequent relevant resolutions into national laws, as the most effective way to secure Code compliance.

As part of this, we make a clear commitment that we will only lobby in favor of regulation that meets at least a minimum threshold of Code alignment on BMS aimed at Infants aged 0-12 months of age. We implement this commitment by taking an active role in specific industry associations to contribute to industry-wide improvements. Please find the membership of infant and young child associations (pdf, 1Mb).

 

 

Memberships and advocacy initiatives

Given our size and geographical presence, we are involved in multiple industry organizations and think tanks at local, regional and global level. We believe in the power of collective action, mainly for challenging topics that no one can achieve on its own (e.g. environmental and social sustainability issues).

We hold Board seats in multiple industry organizations. This gives us the opportunity to constructively develop the industry agenda with the aim of advancing the health of people and of our planet, drive societal progress and support a sustainable healthy food system wherever feasible or appropriate.

Nestlé advocates for positive change through various industry and other types of coalitions to act on climate change and scale our impact. This includes our membership of:

  • WEF Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders – Nestlé's CEO supports the actions of this group which seeks to catalyze and aggregate action and initiatives from companies from all industry sectors.
  • One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B) – Nestlé is a founding member and leads work on product portfolio transformation and certification to help boost cultivated biodiversity and stop deforestation.
  • CGF Forest Positive Coalition – Nestlé is founding member of the Coalition, launched in 2020. It is focused on transformative change to remove deforestation, forest conversion and degradation from key commodity supply chains and support forest positive businesses.
  • Natural Climate Solutions Alliance – Nestlé supports the work of the Alliance in creating the right conditions for a functioning NCS market, allowing companies to invest in high quality projects that deliver rapid drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere.
  • International Chamber of Commerce Environment and Energy Commission – Nestlé actively participates in the Commission's efforts to develop policy recommendations and tools that address environmental challenges like climate change.
  • WBCSD Working Groups – Nestlé participates in a number of groups including SOS 1.5 and the Climate Policy Working Group.
  • Exponential Roadmap Initiative – In December 2020, Nestlé joined the ERI as a Supply Chain Leader, working with suppliers to move towards the 1.5-degree, net zero pathway. Nestlé also supports the SME Climate Hub, where smaller companies can find advice and support to transform their own business models.

Nestlé is active in progressive climate advocacy on a regional and local basis.

In the U.S., for example, Nestlé supports pro-climate policy development through its membership of both the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance and the We Are Still In campaign.
In Europe, activities include:

Organization Nestlé's representative on the Board of Directors / Leadership Councils
World Economic Forum (WEF) CEO of Nestlé
Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) CEO of Nestlé
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) EVP - Global Operations
International Special Dietary Foods Industries (ISDI) Head of Corporate Affairs - Nutrition Business
International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) Head of Global Public Affairs

Organization Nestlé's representative on the Board of Directors / Leadership Councils
FoodDrink Europe (FDE) CEO of Nestlé EMENA
European Manufacturers Brand Association (AIM) CEO of Nestlé EMENA
Food Industry Asia Head of Communications, Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa
Consumer Goods Forum Latin America CEO of Nestlé Americas

Organization Nestlé's representative on the Board of Directors / Leadership Councils
Sustainable Food Policy Alliance - USA CEO of Nestlé USA
Food and Consumer Products of Canada CEO of Nestlé Canada
Conselho Empresarial Brasileiro para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável - CEBDS CEO of Nestlé Brazil
The Mexican Council of the Consumer Products Industry, A.C. - ConMexico CEO of Nestlé Mexico
Food and Beverage Trade Association - ABChile CEO of Nestlé Chile
Food and Beverage Trade Association - COPAL CEO of Nestlé Argentina
National Industry Association of Colombia - ANDI CEO of Nestlé Colombia
Camara Nacional de industriales de la leche – CANILEC Head of Corporate and Public Affairs, Nestlé Mexico

Organization  Nestlé’s representative on the Board of Directors / Leadership councils
Sustainable Food Policy Alliance CEO of Nestlé USA
Infant Nutrition Council of America CEO of Nestlé USA
Healthcare Nutrition Council CEO of Nestlé USA
International Dairy Foods Association CEO of Nestlé USA
Food and Consumer Products of Canada CEO of Nestlé Canada

 

Organization Nestlé's representative on the Board of Directors / Leadership Councils
Food Federation Germany (Lebensmittelverband Deutschland) CEO of Nestlé Germany
Asociación multisectorial de fabricantes y distribuidores (AECOC) CEO of Nestlé Spain
Institut de liaisons des entreprises de consommation (ILEC) - France CEO of Nestlé France
Food and Drink Federation (FDF) - UK CEO of Nestlé UK&I
Unione Italiana Food - Italy Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications of Nestlé Italiana
Federation of the Food and Drink Industries - Czech Republic CEO of Nestlé in Czech Republic
Association of Branded Goods Manufacturers "RusBrand" CEO of Nestlé Russia

Organization  Nestlé’s representative on the Board of Directors / Leadership councils
China Beverage Industry Association (CBIA) – CEO of Nestlé China CEO of Nestlé China
Consumer Goods Forum in China – CEO of Nestlé China CEO of Nestlé China
China Nutrition and Health Food Association (CNHFA) – CEO of Nestlé China CEO of Nestlé China

 

Organization Nestlé's representative on the Board of Directors / Leadership Councils
Australian Food and Grocery Council CEO of Nestlé Australia
China Beverage Industry Association (CBIA) CEO of Nestlé China
Consumer Goods Forum in China CEO of Nestlé China
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications of Nestlé India
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications of Nestlé India
Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc. - Philippines CEO of Nestlé Philippines
Consumer Goods Council of South Africa CEO of Nestlé South Africa

 

Considerations for collective action

Dealing with consensus and conflicts

As a strong believer in collective action, we always advocate for the highest common denominator with all the organizations we work with. We also work towards achieving consensus.

In circumstances when we do not agree with an agenda or a position of an industry association, or industry alliance or any of its member companies, we communicate transparently our position, and we reserve our right to act as an individual company and engage independently with public authorities or other stakeholders.

Assessing our involvement in industry and trade organizations

We regularly review our involvement in industry and trade organizations to assess the relevance of our participation versus our strategy and versus the achievements delivered through the organizations we have subscribed to.

The decision to resign from an industry organization is informed by several considerations, amongst which:

  • Nestlé is regularly in opposition with the positions / agendas of the organization (this includes inappropriate lobbying practices)
  • The organization has not delivered the outcome expected for many years
  • Weak governance putting at risk Nestlé’s reputation
  • The evolution of the membership of the organization is not in alignment with Nestlé’s agenda, values and principles
Employees holding cups in factory

 

What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying?

(source: Legal Dictionary)
The process or act of supporting a cause or proposal. Nestlé’s advocacy aims to directly and/or indirectly support decision-makers, stakeholders and relevant audiences in the pursuit of a broader positive societal agenda and outcome that are aligned with our business goals framed by our corporate purpose and values and built on science-based evidence.

(source: OECD's Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust - 2014)
The term generally refers to oral or written communication with a public official to influence legislation, policy or administrative decisions and includes any activity where an attempt is made to influence public decision-making processes. Lobbying can be direct, or indirect (via industry associations or any other third-party entity).

In our internal work, we also refer to the following definition and considerations of Transparency International.

Transparency International defines lobbying as "any direct or indirect communication with public officials, political decision-makers or representatives for the purposes of influencing public decision-making and carried out by or on behalf of an organized group. Lobbying can also include direct or indirect attempts to influence public opinion, outside of normal advertising and marketing activity, with a view to impacting public decision making" (TI CPEI 2018, p.35).

We conclude, in line with the OECD, that the principal distinction between good and bad lobbying (or good and bad advocacy for that matter) is the process, which we attempt to codify through these five principles of responsible lobbying. It therefore follows that all actors – whether corporate or CSO and whatever their cause – should be held to these same standards.

Generally, Nestlé does not carry a specific global budget for lobbying activities. The major lobbying activity is done locally via industry associations to comply with local legislations and contexts. The spending is covered by the annual membership fees paid to these organizations.

Our spending on lobbying (including third parties) is publicly available where it is required by law. For example:

  • In the U.S., we file quarterly reports with the U.S. government outlining which issues we have lobbied in addition to how much money the company spent on those activities. We disclose the percentage of salaries for lobbyists, office space expenses, trade association dues, etc. In 2021, Nestlé USA reported USD 822 000 of expenses.  
  • In the European Union, we report on our estimated budget for lobbying activities to the EU Transparency Registry. The amounts we report on (EUR 400 000 – 499 999  FY 2020) relate to the rough estimation of annual gross salaries of the Team based in Brussels and dealing with advocacy.
  • In France, we transparently report the lobbying expenses to the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (EUR 400,000 -  500,000 FY 2020)

We are conscious that our advocacy and lobbying activities are legitimate but remain a privilege. It is however in our interest to achieve collective positive outcomes and to share it. That is why we respect and safeguard the opportunity for other interest groups to lobby and do so by not spending disproportionately in lobbying. We also seek to pursue cooperation with stakeholders to promote and support governmental efforts to improve transparency and accountability in relation to lobbying.

We look for continuous improvement in all what we do. It is in this spirit that we have engaged with Carnstone on their Responsible Lobbying Framework (pdf, 10.1Mb). Our Policies, Management Systems and Disclosure were then assessed by ATNI in 2021 against the Responsible Lobbying Framework. Final outcomes of the report showed that Nestlé reached #3 rank, with a score of 55%, in the leading pack of the breastmilk substitutes manufacturers.

We welcome this assessment as it helped us further understand our stakeholders’ expectations and identify opportunities for strengthening our approach. We encourage other members of the industry as well as stakeholders (including civil society organizations) to implement the principles of the Responsible Lobbying Framework.

Creating Shared Value and Sustainability Report