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Nestlè answers

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  • Category: Nestle

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1. Set out the main ethical criticisms of Nestlé marketing of infant formula. Which consumer rights are these practices failing to respect?

The main ethical criticism of Nestlé, in my opinion are four: Commercializing its product, Nestlé was not abiding the rules imposed by the WHO code; Nestlé, during its marketing operations, is not assumed the moral responsibility for infant mortality caused by low intake of enzymes derived from breast milk; Nestlé promoted aggressively its products, ignoring the benefits of breastfeeding; Nestlé, with its advertisement, thanks to the illiteracy of poor people, has neglected the value of breastfeeding.

I think that these practices are failing to respect several consumer right such as the right to safety (consumers must be protected against dangers in products), the right to be informed (consumers has the right to be given all the information they require about a product or service), the right to consumer education (consumer have the right to demand education in consumers affairs) and the right to satisfaction of basic needs (consumers have the right to basic goods and services which guarantee survival).

2. Many of the criticisms of Nestlé’s practices stem from the argument that consumers in the developing world are “vulnerable”. To what extent is this a valid argument?

I think that this is absolutely true. In developing countries people, especially the poorest people, are more vulnerable than the others because they don’t have an education in consumer’s affairs. In fact, one of the greatest plagues of the countries in the developing world is rampant illiteracy. Nestlé, and a lot of multinational company, take advantages by this fact and make the consumer an easy prey to hunt.

3. What are the argument for and against continuing the nestle boycott from the point of view of consumers seeking to enhance the well-being of mothers and babies in the developing world? What is the implication does your answer have for notions of consumer sovereignty?

Probably, the previous question to ask is: is right to use the infant formula or not? If we think about the reasons that led Nestlé to use this formula, the intent is good: create and sell a great substitute of breast milk, helping children, which had no possibilities to get it in other ways. On the other hand, it cannot be disputed that hundreds of thousands of children die each year in the developing countries due to malnutrition or water-borne disease. Nestlé caused, both in the past and in the present, a lot of premature deaths, due to arise use of the infant formula by ignorant mothers and it don’t (and didn’t) do nothing, from an advertising perspective, to guide poor mothers through a correct use of this infant formula.

In these countries, Nestlé has managed to subjugate consumers and made them unable to obtain more information about the infant formula. In fact, they trust blindly Nestlé and its products. I think that costumers need to be sovereign of the market. They could decide all that concern with the market: multinationals exist thanks to the costumers and they owe everything to them. Suddenly, in the developing countries there are a lot of people who don’t know this fact and let themselves be guided by misleading advertising. 4. How would explain Nestlé’s apparent failure in pacifying critics? What would you suggest the company do to end the boycott?

The apparent failure of Nestlé, in linked with the fact that they are still exploiting of ignorance and lack of information of the costumers in the Third World and the costumers who know the truth can easily understand this. Then Nestlé is still using in his favour the lack of fair governments, which defends their population, and the lack of rigid laws in these countries. To end the boycott Nestlé should give up the advertisement to the public, give up the samples to mothers, the using of bonus for sales and the material/financial inducements to promote his child milk. Then Nestlé should write a statement of superiority of the breastfeeding on his products and distribute educational material which shows how to use the infant formula, when to use it and the hazards for the developing of the Third World countries for not spending more money.

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