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Ethical business

Upholding ethical principles in our business and throughout our value chain is fundamental to how we operate, and underpins consumer trust and our licence to operate. This includes our zero tolerance of fraud, bribery and corruption, our stringent efforts to ensure data privacy and our public policies. Our company values lie behind our efforts, while our Corporate Business Principles and Code of Business Conduct clearly set out our responsibilities.

Our values: rooted in respect

  • Respect for ourselves. Respect starts with each of us, with self-respect and being true to ourselves, then acting with integrity, fairness and authenticity.
  • Respect for others. Respect for the people around us and all those we interact with creates a climate of mutual trust. This is about taking pride in living up to what we promise. It is about quality in our products, our brands and in everything we do.
  • Respect for diversity. Respect for other ways of thinking, other cultures and all facets of society requires openness and inclusiveness in all our interactions, both inside and outside our company.
  • Respect for the future. Respect for the world’s future and the generations who follow us compels us to act with responsibility and courage, even when difficult.

“Respect has a special and powerful meaning at Nestlé. It profoundly influences the way we work and run our business. Our values are visible in our behaviours, our actions and our decisions.”

Mark Schneider, CEO, Nestlé


Bribery and corruption negatively impact on both company performance and stakeholders’ perceptions. We do not tolerate deception, bribery, corruption, breach of confidence or abuse of power of any kind, and we have made a public commitment to ensure a culture of integrity across the Group.

Recognising that these activities can, and occasionally do, arise in some markets, we aim to ensure that our commitments, policies and standards for combating bribery and corruption are clear, applicable for all employees, suppliers and customers, and widely communicated and understood. We set out our position on these issues in our Code of Business Conduct, Appendix on Anti-Corruption (pdf, 2Mb).


The changing regulatory landscape

We continue to anticipate and respond to consumer expectations, guard against data security threats and adapt to the changing regulatory landscape.

In Europe, we are focused on our efforts towards compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when it comes into force in 2018. This major reform is designed to strengthen and unify data protection. We are also seeing stricter regulation in some countries (such as Malaysia and Morocco) and an increasing trend in data localisation laws (e.g. Russia and China).

Our privacy programme

We collect, store and use data to engage with consumers and to deliver innovative services, which makes protecting personal data of paramount importance to us. Consumers, employees, vendors, suppliers and investors all expect us to adhere to the highest standards of privacy and security.

We have started to implement a new privacy programme across the Nestlé Group. Central to this, we introduced a new Data Privacy Standard, which covers all the stages of data processing from collection to deletion. The Standard is mandatory for all Nestlé entities around the world, reinforces our data protection principles, and is supported by a strengthened network of data privacy officers and champions.

In October 2017, we also updated our internal Privacy Policy to reflect the new digital reality. It features key principles that all employees and contractors must comply with when processing personal data. The new Policy and Standard have been communicated globally, and will be fully implemented within 18 months.

Over the course of 2017, we have also participated in a number of multi-stakeholder groups to keep abreast of data protection developments and issues, and to promote better data privacy and security. We will continue with our efforts in this area.

Public policy and advocacy

Companies are often consulted when policies and regulations are being developed, and the opportunity to use our expertise to inform decision-making, in collaboration with governments, authorities and other relevant bodies, is an important responsibility. We have procedures in place that ensure this engagement is conducted professionally and transparently.

Most of our policies, documents and reports are available online, as are our positions on key issues (see Ask Nestlé).

Committed to transparency

Transparency and good faith underpin our engagement process, providing the basis for deeper dialogue, and building knowledge and understanding. We outline our expectations with employees through the Nestlé Policy on Transparent Interactions with Public Authorities (pdf, 2.12 Mb), which was reviewed and published in July 2017. We provide guidance to country-level Nestlé staff in the form of a new e-learning tool, which enables relevant employees to explore how they would react to a range of different scenarios. The auditing of our procedures has also been launched in January 2018.

In Europe, we are listed in the European Union Transparency Register, which provides information about who is engaging with decision-makers, and follow its code of conduct. In the United States, we file quarterly public reports outlining our engagement activities with the US Congress.

We also maintain two websites that enable stakeholders to raise their concerns directly with us. ‘Ask Nestlé’ is open to receive comments, questions or complaints from the general public, while ‘Tell us’ is an online external grievance system.

Nestlé’s industry affairs guidelines

Due to the size, diversity and global presence of our operations, we are involved in many industry and trade organisations at all levels across our regions. Nestlé’s membership of these bodies requires subject matter expertise, committed resources, and strategic coordination and alignment across our business.

Our internal guidelines help markets manage this process, in alignment with our corporate strategy. Extensively updated in 2017, they provide a structured approach to industry affairs and specific recommendations for employees, guiding them in:

  • Understanding the industry landscape and the role of Nestlé as an industry leader in these organisations;
  • Identifying and setting priorities, and selecting the relevant industry and trade organisations to deliver desired outcomes; and
  • Developing rules of engagement with these organisations, and promoting good governance.

See the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles (pdf, 1.1 Mb)

Download a copy of our PDF on taxation (pdf, 65Kb)