In this self-reflection report, I would like to choose Nestlé S.A – a Swiss food and drink company which has been considered to be one of the largest food companies in the world. According to Fortune Magazine (2015), Nestle’s 2014 revenue was more than 90 million USD ranked at No. 72 on the list of Fortune Global 500, as well as their fast-growing performance. However, in the past 15 years, the well-known company Nestle has been involved in numerous boycotts for unethical business practices in the way that they did their business which had ruined their reputation. In this report, unethical behaviours undertaken by the company will be discussed and analysed. Recommendations will be provided to improve their poor business acts.
Company background and CRS
According to Claire, The world’s top 100 food & beverage companies (2015), Nestlé company has more than 6,000 thousand brands, with a wide range of products offered a cross markets such as, bottled water and coffees, beverages, chocolate, ice cream, infant foods, performance and healthcare nutrition, confectionery, frozen and refrigerated foods, seasonings and pet food. In 2000, Nestlé joined the World Coca Foundation (WCF) in order to deal with issues caused by farmers, the WCF goal is to help farmer in earning more income, encouraging them for more efficient farming technique and environmental and social practices, (History & Mission, 2016)
Unethical Marketing of Artificial Baby Milk
One of the most critical issue that Nestlé had been criticised for during past 15 years is the promotion of the use of infant formula to mothers across the world. Many people believe that Nestlé strategies for promoting its infant formula was misleading and harmful that violates both International Symbols of Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes and WHO Code amendable the marketing of breast milk substitutes (Sethi, 2013)
Nestlé’s marketing campaign encouraged mothers across the world for bottle feeding instead of breast feeding, they used free sample to pursue this mission. In addition, Nestlé implies that malnourished mothers and mothers with twins have not the ability to Breastfeed their child, despite many international health organisations claimed that there is no sufficient evidence to shore up this statement which could put both the mothers and babies’ life in danger
There have been numerous reports of direct advertisement targeting mothers across the world in countries such as Malaysia, South Africa and Ireland as a result advocacy groups and health organizations accused Nestlé of unethical methods of promoting its milk and demand the company to immediately stop its marketing strategies (Sethi, 2013).
One of the Health organisations that criticised Nestlé for its marketing strategy was IBFAN which believed Nestlé is harming misleading mothers by offering them a free sample of milks as they are in hospitals, because as mothers are released from hospitals they have to continually buy Nestlé’s formula since babies get adapted to the Nestlé’s milk. IBFAN also maintained that Nestlé exercise “Humanitarian Aid” to form markets by offering striking gifts and different sponsorships to influence health officials to market and promote its products by targeting young mothers who have given birth (Sethi, 2013).
In my view, even Nestle had defended their unethical behaviours and used denials and attempted to cover their acts, or the law does not have or fail the company, public action would force the Swiss company to change. I think boycotting the brand is one of the many forms to help spread the world about their unethical business practice, as well as to put pressure on the government to pass the law that would prevent similar situations.
I would also recommend Nestle to rearrange their marketing practices in detail on the recommendations of the WHO Code which is the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant subsequent WHA Resolutions, and provide systematic training towards Code compliance to its marketing personnel.
To sum up, after analysing Nestle’s business act, I could state ethics is not a main factor in their business management, this has influenced their reputation and ruined their position in the food industries. As a result, ethics has become one of the most important aspects of management duty, no matter if it is a small or big corporation. Many businesses are interested in making money, and that is the bottom line, but doing the right things and having responsibility and commitment toward society have more importance.