It must be a busy time for the Global Compact Office in New York. In the last three days, the Office has received at least two complaints. The first complaint, against Bayer, was sent on Tuesday. Yesterday a group called Nestlé Critics submitted a report in which it urges the Global Compact Office to delist Nestlé. The campaigners argue that the company commits systematic abuses and that it brings the Compact "into disrepute".
Nestlé Critics allege that Nestlé's Communications on Progress are misleading and that the company uses its participation in the Compact to divert criticism so that abuses of human rights and environmental standards can continue. According to the campaigners, Nestlé has three months to respond to the allegations in the report under the terms of the Compact's Integrity Measures.
The concerns raised by Nestlé Critics include:
- Aggressive marketing of baby milks and foods and undermining of breastfeeding;
- Trade union busting and failing to act on related court decisions;
- Failure to act on child labor and slavery in its cocoa supply chain;
- Exploitation of farmers, particularly in the dairy and coffee sectors;
- Environmental degradation, particularly of water resources.
Mike Brady, campaigns and networking coordinator at Baby Milk Action, is very critical of Nestlé's participation in the Global Compact: "a fundamental flaw with the UN Global Compact voluntary approach is that Communications on Progress by Nestlé and other companies are not subject to verification. Nestlé's misleading submissions are published on the UN Global Compact website and have even been launched at events with the Global Compact Office so bringing the initiative as a whole into disrepute. We are using Integrity Measures to call on the Global Compact Office to act to try to salvage its own credibility by removing Nestlé from its list of participating companies. Nestlé uses the UN Global Compact to cover up its malpractice so that abuses can continue."
Contributors to the report include the International Labor Rights Fund, trade unionists from the Philippines, Corporate Accountability International and Baby Milk Action.
The report / complaint is available here.
© Photo by David Boyle.