Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Methodists soften stance on Nestlé

September 2006

Methodists in Britain have backed a decision by their church’s ethical investment committee to end its long-standing ban on investing in Nestlé over concerns about the company’s marketing of breast milk substitutes.

The church’s influential Methodist Conference has supported the conclusion reached last year by its joint advisory committee on the ethics of investment that there are now ‘no compelling reasons’ for a ban.

The conference also accepted that it would be better for the church to instruct its investment managers to engage with the company, rather than to continue its exclusion policy. The decision frees the church’s central finance board, which is advised by the committee, to approve Nestlé holdings if it wishes.

Nestlé has been the target of one of the longest-running consumer boycotts over allegations that it aggressively markets breast milk substitutes in developing countries, often in contravention of World Health Organization guidelines. It is still excluded from FTSE4Good for failing to meet the index’s criteria on the marketing of breast milk substitutes.

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