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Nestle’s Baby Formula Controversy
Nestle’s baby formula marketing in Third World countries has become a conventional case which illustrates social responsibility and business ethics. The company entered the market of Third World countries without changing its strategies and marketing techniques. This was one of the company’s major faults which led to the international scandal and boycott of Nestle’s products in Third World countries.
The company was accused of promotion of its products and discouraging breastfeeding among woman in developing countries (Davidson 2009). Various reports and surveys were conducted. Health care employees reported that the use of Nestle products led to malnutrition and even deaths in many cases (Cateora 2011).
It is necessary to note that even though the products were boycotted, many people advocated Nestle’s products. For instance, these people claimed that malnutrition and high rate of infant deaths was caused by social and economic situation in the countries, rather than by the use of Nestle products. Nestle also argued that in many cases women misused Nestle products which led to health problems or fatal cases.
Besides, Nestle also stressed that the company never discouraged breastfeeding among woman in any country. On the contrary, the company always articulated the idea that breastfeeding is the best option. Nonetheless, Nestle also admitted that some of their marketing techniques needed rethinking (Frederick 2002, p.233). For instance, such practice as distribution of free products among women or nurses was seen as inappropriate.
It goes without saying that Nestle can be regarded as an example of the multinational which can be socially responsible. Thus, when the company acknowledged that some of its practices were unethical or wrongful, it started reshaping its marketing strategies.
Nestle followed the rules set by WHO and made a decision to start marketing its products only when particular laws and regulations would be enacted. Admittedly, this is an ethical and responsible position.
Recommendations to Nestle
However, the contemporary world brings new challenges to the fore. Thus, spread of HIV infection in Third World countries is the issue which needs drastic measures. In this respect, Nestle’s products can become one of the strategies which can reduce the rate of this infection spread. Reportedly, breastfeeding is one of the ways of HIV infection transmission.
This matter has been one of the most disputable issues during the past decades (Moland et al. 2010). Scientists try to discover new ways to prevent this kind of transmission (Iliff et al. 2005). Apparently, there is one easy step to be undertaken.
Thus, Nestle can address world public and assure Third World countries as well as WHO and developed countries that the company will start a campaign aimed at raising awareness concerning proper use of Nestle’s baby formula. For instance, the company can start up an advertising campaign. However, the major attention should be paid to the proper use of the product rather than the product itself.
It is also essential to stress the benefits of breastfeeding. Admittedly, the company should present new ways of its products marketing. Nestle should initiate new discussions concerning distribution of its products in Third World countries. It can be helpful to implement new surveys in the area.
The company should also provide reports on its products safety. In this way the company can contribute to prevention of HIV transmission. It will also help to rehabilitate baby products worldwide.
Cateora, PR, Gilly, MC, and Graham, JL 2011, “Ch. 5. Culture, management style, and business systems,” in Cateora et al. (eds), International Marketing, McGraw Hill, Berkshire, UK, pp. 146-148.
Davidson, K 2009, ‘Ethical concerns at the bottom of the pyramid: where CSR meets BOP’, Journal of International Business Ethics, vol. 2 no. 1, pp. 22-32.
Frederick, R 2002, A companion to business ethics, John Wiley & Sons, Oxford.
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Iliff, PJ, Piwoz, EG, Tavengwa, NV, Zunguza, CD, Marinda, ET, Nathoo, KJ, Moulton, LH, Ward, BJ, the ZVITAMBO study group, & Humphrey, JH 2005, ‘Early exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of postnatal HIV-1 transmission and increases HIV-free survival’, AIDS, vol. 19 no. 7, pp. 699-708.
Moland, KM, Paoli, MM, Sellen, DW, Esterik, P, Leshabari, SC, & Blystad, A 2010, ‘Breastfeeding and HIV: experiences from a decade of prevention of postnatal HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa’, International Breastfeeding Journal, vol. 5, no. 10, pp. 1-7.