The Nestle Boycott
Publisher: Infact Canada. 10 Trinity Square, Toronto, Ontario. M5G 1B1
Year Published: 1982
Resource Type: Organization
Cx Number: CX2395
For several years, the Nestlé corporation has been the focus of an international boycott protesting their promotion of infant formula in the Third World.
For several years, the Nestlé corporation has been the focus of an international boycott protesting their promotion of infant formula in the Third World. Church, consumer groups and international agencies like the World Health Organization and UNICEF have claimed that poverty, impure water, lack of sterilization and refrigeration facilities make the safe use of formula almost impossible for many Third World families. Yet infant formula companies, of which Nestlé is by far the largest, have aggressively promoted their formula for several decades, creating the illusion throughout the Third World that this is the "modern way" to feed one's infant.
In May, 1981, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave the campaign a major boost by endorsing a Code that would regulate the marketing of infant formula and would serve as a model for countries to use in creating legislation. The provisions of the code parallel the Nestlé boycott demands: an end to all advertising, an end to the distribution of free samples, no more company personnel allowed in the health care system to promote formula, no more promotion of formula through posters, literature, gifts to doctors, nurses, etc. Even though Nestlé claims publicly that they are abiding by the WHO code, monitoring in the field indicates that they are still continuing promotion. The Nestlé boycott will continue until practice in the field complies with the Code.
Many groups across Canada are actively supporting the Boycott by informing their membership about the issue, handing out leaflets outside supermarkets encouraging customers not to buy any Nestlé products, collecting and returning to the company unused Nestlé coupons, etc. A prime resource for groups is the film "The Formula Factor," available through National Film Board depots. The United Church of Canada has a kit of resources detailing the issue; it is available for $3 - write to the Division of Mission in Canada, 85 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M4T 1M8.
INFACT Canada is a coalition of religious, professional and consumer groups and co-ordinates the Boycott in Canada. They issue a regular update.