After doing research on this brand, I have found myself at a cross-roads of weather to purchase their products now, knowing what I have learned.
Nestle is a well known, popular company that has over 8,000 brands from cereal, to chocolate, to water, but they are also known for the longest running boycott against them.
Ethical Issue #1:
Nestle has been making poor choices in marketing since the controversy regarding their baby formula erupted back in the early 1990’s. Their aggressive marketing campaign to low income, poverty stricken countries, had many non-profit organizations and the general public in uproar because of the unethical tactics the brand was using to promote something that was discovered to be a risk for children to ingest when mixed with unclean drinking water, even if boiled. Nestle at first denied, and to an extent still does deny, its aggressive marketing to these impoverished countries, but has begrudgingly worked with the WHO (World Health Organization) to ‘improve’ its marketing and packing of the baby formula to inform consumers the risks it poses to children if not mixed with clean purified drinking water.
Ethical Issue #2:
Nestle has also endured scrutiny regarding its negligence for the environment. The company received the worst rating for palm oil policy. The company stated that “in 2013 we achieved 100% certified palm oil products”. Yet the company gave numbers for the amount of palm oil and palm kernel oil that it used, and the amount of certified palm and palm kernel oil that it used. Based on these numbers it appears most of its palm oil is not certified, despite its statement from 2013.
Ethical Issue #3:
As if having 1 unethical issue is enough, Nestle has also ruffled the feathers of the public by not treating the welfare of animals in an ethical manor. The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare issues a report every year that rates companies on how they treat the welfare of farm animals used for their products. Tier 1 is the top ranking and indicates that the company is a leader in the industry of animal welfare, whereas Tier 3 is the worst marking one can receive. Nestle received a Tier 3 ranking in 2013 and has since neglected to make significant improvements.
The (Suggested) Solution:
From an outside perspective looking in, the solution to me is quite obvious, stop doing the unethical things you are doing, Nestle. Seems simple enough, right? As a company, when it is put in a situation, that its leaders most likely put them in rather than outside sources, it is best to be transparent. Admitting and acknowledging that their involvements and the severity of their poor actions is the first step in gaining trust back to the public, the consumers, and the organizations that Nestle has burned bridges with. Nestle continues to neglect their moral compass and their actions, by not being transparent about their products, how they are made, or the process that goes into it.
As I get older and learning the world of marketing, I am also learning that as consumer we have the power to really make an impact by refusing to purchase products if the brand and company do not meet our own moral and ethical standards. We all have a choice in what we buy and it is important to know about the company who makes and manufactures the brands we love and hold them accountable to the values they state they stand for.