Company revisionism might be effective

People and corporations can get stuck in a rut. These aren’t always bad habits – sometimes they are good and done with important goals in mind.

But sometimes things need to change. Whether it’s my own decisions or the decisions of a large corporation, information about the topic should be evaluated. Even if it’s changing a well-ingrained practice. Perhaps a new perspective will come out of the questions. Perhaps not, but now it’s not just a habit that may have been based on old info.

It’s a decision.

I’m reconsidering my position on changing my mind.

I used to think it was a bad trait. “Why can’t you make a decision and stick to it?” Granted, sometimes I changed my schedule, not my point of view. Even so, why’s it bad to switch things around when new information shows up?

Like now. I’m considering shifting my perspective on a major corporation I’ve denounced for years.

The company? Nestle. I joined a boycott against their company years ago. I was heartbroken when I realized Kit-Kat was a Nestle product. Yes, I know they have a nice big logo on the packaging. But when I’m getting ready to bite into the chocolate-covered wafers, I’m not looking at the wrapper. For one, I’m not eating the packaging. And two, sometimes I don’t change my mind. The calorie count is no longer important if I’ve made the decision to treat myself.

What is important to me is that I support purpose-led businesses. So when I discovered “Nestle” and “purpose-led business” were somehow connected, I decided they’d need a closer look. Plus, they’re buying B-Corps, apparently with the intention of maintaining their status. (Learn what a B-Corp is here.)

Checking out how Nestle had managed to become connected to purpose-led businesses was on my to-do list. But it moved to top priority when I read a New York Times article. They reported that the US didn’t support the World Health Assembly resolution reaffirming the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Since Nestle’s approach to marketing formula was part of why I boycotted them, and with big industry’s habit of valuing money over ethics, I suspected they were part of the decision. However, knowing that spin has been getting a little out-of-control, I opted to read the article thoroughly.

Nestle specifically disavowed any part in the lack of support. I decided now was the time to take a closer look at Nestle.

Their site is huge. This is unsurprising, since they have tons of products. Being in business for 150 years will do that (I had no idea they were that old).

Many huge sites are unwieldy and finding anything is near-impossible. Since I didn’t want to spend too much time getting lost, I used their search function. I expected to find simple web pages (if that) telling me they were innocent. But that’s not what happened. Their search function worked. Quite well. I adjusted my timeline without a thought.

I spent over an hour reading page after page, saving sixteen documents to review later. Those were just the beginning. I still have on my reading list twenty-four external audits by Bureau Veritas, eight external reports on Nestle’s compliance with the WHO Code compliance, and nineteen responses by Nestle to the concerns raised by IBFAN or stakeholders.

I’m interested in what I’ll find as I dig into the documents provided. I’m also interested in what I don’t find. Does Nestle actually take disciplinary action like they say they do? What type of discipline is it, and for what type of offense? And have they changed their ways only in marketing policies for breast milk substitutes, or have they also evaluated their policies in the water bottling industry? And what about sourcing their chocolate?

They’ve given the public access to a significant amount of information. Part of being a sustainable brand is reporting on metrics and having those reports easily available. Nestle’s lived up to those standards. If they’ve put action behind their sustainable-brand label, I’ll change my mind. Gladly. Making decisions at the grocery store will be even easier.


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