The Ethics of Marketing Nestles Infant Formula Introduction: •Issue in Question: 1. Nestle’s marketing of infant formula 2. First world product in a third world country •Marketing dilemmas 1. First world products in a third world market 2. Risk conditions are present 3. Can a product be marketed in an area that it cannot be guaranteed? •Evolution of a public issue 1. In 1970 an organized campaign was established by the Protein Calorie Advisory Group ( PAG) 2. The claim was that: “Nestle pushed its products to mothers, many of whom lived in circumstances that made the use of such products a highly risky adventure”. . Corporate advertisers by the infant formula companies had promoted the idea that bottle feeding was better than breast feeding •Circumstances: 1. The formula is sold in a powder form and must have a “clean” water supply Ex. Developing Nations have poor water quality and subject the child to disease 2. “Since the product must be mixed, preparation instructions are important and mother must be able to read. Unfortunately, the rate of illiteracy is very high in developing nations”. 3.
The price of the formula caused the mothers to over dilute the formula in an attempt to stretch the formula for a few extra days. 4. Over diluting caused the baby to be malnourished •Peter Muller (journalist) 1. Travelled to Africa, in the early 1970’s to study allegations of market abuse 2. Sponsored by a British charity group called the “War on Want” 3. He published many article’s in 1974 titled “Baby Killers” 4. Nestle’s the largest producer of formula was targeted as being unethical because of his articles •“Nestle Baby Killers” Switzerland Phase 1 of the evolution of a public issue 1. Reprint of the articles in Switzerland by a Swiss public action group, lead to a change in the tile of the articles to “Nestle Baby Killers” 2. Nestle sued the Swiss public action group and the case came to trial in Switzerland in 1975 •Phase2 of the evolution of the public issue 1. Gained public attrition for the entire industry, not just Nestle 2. Eventually leading to a boycott against nestle in 1977 •High point of phase 2 1. The boycott convinced the staff of the United States senator Edward Kennedy to hold hearings 2.
The hearings consisted of three groups of people i. People who had worked in developing nations ii. Experts in public health iii. Company representatives , Nestle’s head of the Brazilian operation’s and three American companies were represented by their corporate headquarters •Phase 3 of the evolution of the public issue 1. International action was taken by the Director General of the World Health Assembly i. Nestle and other industry members actively participated in negations ii.
Nestle was the only company that public stated they would follow the code of the World Health Assembly if it was adopted •Phase 4 of the evolution of the public issue 1. “institutionalizing” i. World Health Assembly left many provisions questionable as to their interpretation ii. Nestle’s took it upon themselves to clear the unanswered interoperations by negotiating with the (people that are boycotting) “Nestles Boycott Committee” iii. Nestle implemented the policies they had agreed upon, and followed them lifting the boycott just a few years later.