Engaging stakeholders on important issues and tackling them together lies at the heart of how we do business. We seek the advice of the best experts and advocates to develop and improve our corporate policies and Creating Shared Value (CSV) commitments, strengthen our business and target our societal investments.
Our global stakeholder network ranges from people we engage with regularly through our operations to those in public positions who influence our activities. They span employees, consumers, suppliers, communities, governments, non-governmental organisations, shareholders, trade associations and academia.
Our annual programme of stakeholder convenings and CSV Forum events provides opportunities to intensify that dialogue, building on our understanding of important societal issues. The interaction develops the capability of our people, facilitates collective action, and promotes trust and mutual respect. Outcomes from such dialogue are fed back to senior management through the Nestlé in Society Board.
Our stakeholder groups
We identify stakeholders with expertise across our business and value chain. For our CSV convenings, stakeholders are identified and selected for invitation based on:
- Their expertise in relevant CSV issues (including nutrition and health, water and environmental sustainability, human rights and rural development);
- Their relationship with Nestlé; and
- Their knowledge and experience of important Nestlé markets.
Nestlé seeks to engage at its convenings stakeholders with expertise across CSV issues and representing a range of interests. Nestlé stakeholder convenings are hosted and organised by external experts to ensure we receive independent opinions and feedback. These events address issues that are specific to our value chain and highlight where we can create shared value.
On 30–31 March 2017, representatives of foundations, government agencies, think tanks, academia and the ESG investment community attended our most recent stakeholder convening in London. With 66 stakeholders and 12 Nestlé employees in attendance, including our Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider, the convening provided us with an opportunity to share progress on our CSV programmes and to introduce our newly articulated purpose and ambitions.
We also conduct a Nestlé Stakeholder Community survey. This is an annual survey with global Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) that aims to understand evolving views on the company’s issues and reputation management.
Our global stakeholder network is vast, ranging from people we engage with regularly through our operations to those in public positions who influence our activities. Nestlé identifies the following groups as fundamental to our continuing business success:
- Consumers and the general public;
- Employees and their representatives;
- Industry and trade associations;
- Intergovernmental organisations;
- Non-governmental organisations;
- Reporting agencies;
- Shareholders and the financial community; and
- Suppliers (including farmers and smallholders).
Participants at the convening made a number of recommendations. All their recommendations are outlined below, along with our responses. This feedback is also considered when assessing the material issues of our business, helping us evolve our approach.
|Maintain a long-term focus: Participants noted the importance of Nestlé meeting its commitments, for the long-term benefit of the business, even in challenging political or commercial environments. Participants acknowledged the challenge that Nestlé faces to make the business case for sustainability in the context of financial markets that are largely driven by short-term returns.||We have published our 2030 ambitions for each of our impact areas and will report on progress.|
|Advocate for joined-up policy: Participants highlighted the benefits of regulation to ensure a level playing field and asked Nestlé to collaborate with industry peers and advocate for a joined-up sustainable food policy. Examples suggested included a sugar policy.||
Thought leadership: Our CEO of Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa engaged with the European Commission and European stakeholders in calling for an EU nutrition policy. In February 2017, we shared our sugars reduction journey with national government representatives at a high-level meeting organised by the EU Presidency. And the CEO of Nestlé UK openly called for both voluntary and regulatory instruments to be used in the fight against childhood obesity.
Advocacy: With the European Heart Network, the European Public Health Alliance, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and leading food and beverage companies, we called for the EU to create nutrient profiles for nutrition and health claims. We are also calling for a legislative limit for the amount of industrially produced TFAs in foods. In developing countries, we advocate for the inclusion of micronutrient fortification in national nutrition plans and participate in a number of multi-stakeholder initiatives.
Collaboration: With 25 other companies, we co-launched Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH). The programme, led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the EAT Foundation, works with the business community to accelerate transformational change in global food systems.
|Sharpen the commitments: There was support for Nestlé’s commitments. Participants made some recommendations to further strengthen these, including that Nestlé should clarify how progress towards its ambitions will be measured and the steps it will take to deliver. The urgency of making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was highlighted.||
We recognise the urgent need to meet the SDGs and will aim to explain our progress, including methods of measurement, through our future reporting.
|Describe an integrated vision: Nestlé was asked to provide a more joined-up vision for sustainable food that integrates nutrition, water, environment and livelihoods. Participants highlighted the need to work towards a food system that improves natural capital, going beyond the current focus on reducing negative impacts (e.g. reducing water use).||
We recognise the links between these areas and are supporting FReSH – see above.
We have established workstreams under each impact area to address these topics (read more online).
|Support consumers to change behaviours: Participants highlighted the importance of Nestlé’s research, work with major customers, consumer communications and support for progressive regulation in changing consumer demand – a necessity for improved health and environmental outcomes. Participants identified Nestlé marketing capabilities as a key lever of change.||
We recognise the importance of engaging individuals and families. For example, Nestlé Waters North America has joined How2Recycle, a US consumer education programme.
Some of our brands reinforce consumer behaviour, such as the Maggi Cooking Lesson Programme in Africa, the Milo sports programme and Nespresso’s support for coffee capsule recycling.
We also hosted a stakeholder dialogue to explore Nestlé's role in contributing to optimal nutrition in the first 1000 days of life and industry-leading approaches to promoting breastfeeding and responsibly marketing breast-milk substitutes (BMS). The dialogue was attended by 20 expert stakeholders.
Creating Shared Value Global Forum
The biennial Creating Shared Value Global Forum is a day-long event that brings together development and business experts from around the world. It is designed to stimulate thinking about the increasingly important role of business in addressing major socio-economic challenges in the context of limited natural resources and climate change.
The most recent CSV Global Forum was held in Brasilia in March 2018 under the theme of 'Water as a driver for the Sustainable Development Goals'.
How can farming systems adapt and become more sustainable while maintaining the productive capacity to match consumer demand for healthy diets? And how can we address the challenges faced in rural areas through multi-sector collaboration?
These, and other issues around agriculture, sustainability and nutrition, were explored at the Planting the Seeds for the Future of Food conference in Vevey, Switzerland, in July 2017. The two-day event, hosted by Nestlé, was attended by representatives from business, academia, science and civil society.