Nestle's Social Irresponsibility in Developing Nations

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BECG032 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Corporate Social Responsibility
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1998 - 2003
Pub. Date : 2003
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Nestle
Industry : Confectionaries
Countries : South Africa


Nestlé was one of the most successful food-based companies in the world. Set up by Henri Nestlé in 1867, in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé grew over the decades by acquiring smaller companies to become the largest company in Switzerland by the 1960s. Nestlé's product portfolio included soluble and roast coffee, other beverages like tea and health drinks, several mineral water brands, dairy products, chocolates and confectionery, ice cream, frozen food, culinary products, breakfast cereals, infant food, pet care, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics. By the end of 2002, the company employed more than 250,000 people in 508 factories around the world. Although it was one of the most successful companies in the world, Nestlé was frequently criticized for using unethical marketing practices to promote the sales of some of its products.

The company was severely condemned by health agencies around the world for its marketing of infant formula in developing countries, by conveying the message that the formula was better for babies than mothers' milk.

There were also demands on the company to stop purchasing cocoa from the Ivory Coast, where bonded labor and children were used on plantations to harvest cocoa beans.

Nestlé also became mired in a controversy for selling genetically modified food in some Asian countries without labeling them explicitly. Pure Life, the mineral water brand the company launched in some Asian countries, was also criticized for being too high priced.


» Understand the importance and role of corporate social responsibility in a business environment

» Examine unethical corporate practices and their impact on a company's image and credibility


  Page No.
Ethiopian Controversy 1
Background 2
Nestlé's Socially Irresponsible Practices 4
Conclusion 7
Exhibits 9


Nestlé, food-based companies, world, Henri Nestlé, 1867, Vevey, Switzerland, 1960, soluble and roast coffee, tea, health drinks, mineral water brands, dairy products, chocolates, confectionery, ice cream, frozen food, culinary products, breakfast cereals, infant food, pet care, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, 2002, 250,000, 508 factories, unethical marketing practices, health agencies, infant formula, Mothers' milk, purchasing cocoa, Ivory Coast, bonded labor, children, plantations, cocoa beans, selling ,genetically modified food ,Asian countries, Pure Life

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