Mumsnet's Nestle Boycott
Mumsnet supports the Nestle boycott, and works with Baby Milk Action to put pressure on formula manufacturers to act responsibly, particularly in the context of developing countries. Consequently we refuse advertising from all Nestle-controlled companies and those with Nestle branding in the name (eg Nescafe). We also refuse ads from all formula manufacturers.
However, as an advertising-funded business it’s not viable for us to refuse advertising from the hundreds of companies in which Nestle has relatively small (less than 50%) stakes. We have turned down a lot of potential advertising revenue from Nestle, as well as all the other formula milk brands, and we are more than happy to do that. In an ideal world we would never accept an ad from any company in which Nestle had the smallest interest. Indeed, it would be nice to not have to accept any advertising at all, but we are realistic about what we can do, and we think that our stance allows us to raise awareness about Nestle and make our point.
Following the recent discussion about our acceptance of advertising from the Body Shop – a company in which Nestle has a 26% stake – we have talked the issue over with Mike Brady, the Campaigns Director at Baby Milk Action. We have agreed that we will feature a new ‘Supporting the Boycott’ button on our Home Page and we will be working with BMA over the next few months to raise awareness of the issues around formula marketing.
Mumsnet continues to be a very active forum for discussion of the Nestlé boycott and wider issues concerned with protecting breastfeeding and protecting babies fed on formula.
The purpose of the Nestlé boycott is to put pressure on the largest baby food company and the one we find to be the worst when it comes to violating the international marketing requirements for baby foods. Pressure from the boycott has forced some changes, but the company continues to reject our four-point plan for saving infant lives and ultimately ending the boycott. Further pressure is needed. The main target of the boycott is Nescafé coffee, Nestlé's flagship product, but we encourage people to avoid all products from which Nestlé profits. That is the message conveyed by the Nestlé-Free Zone logos, which link to our site and the boycott list.
We have prepared alternative logos for sites and media channels that wish to raise awareness of the campaign regardless of their own degree of support for the Nestlé boycott. It is important to keep this issue in the public eye as much as possible and we welcome anyone making use of these logos to raise awareness and send traffic to our site. We have no advertising budget ourselves.
We encourage everyone who is selective in their boycott to avoid all Nestlé products during International Nestlé-Free Week at the end of October and those who do not boycott to give it a go, at least for the week. This year we are also asking people to email Nestlé over its latest global marketing strategy: the company is claiming its baby milk 'protects' babies, even though it know babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die.
Please do, of course, let us know your views. We are always happy to review policy and it would be good to know folks' thoughts.