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Shareholders Push Nestlé to Prioritize Healthy Food Sales

World 19.03.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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A collective of Nestlé shareholders, spearheaded by responsible investment group ShareAction, has introduced a resolution urging the food giant to significantly enhance its sales of healthy food items.
Shareholders Push Nestlé to Prioritize Healthy Food Sales
The shareholders are pressing Nestlé to establish a target aimed at elevating the proportion of its revenue derived from nutritious products. This initiative arises from concerns regarding regulatory, reputational, and legal risks faced by the company, along with the public health repercussions associated with an overemphasis on less healthy foods.

Investors managing assets totaling $1.68 trillion, including prominent entities like Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), Candriam, and La Francaise Asset Management, are backing the resolution. It is slated for voting at Nestlé's Annual General Meeting scheduled for April 18.

Catherine Howarth, CEO of ShareAction, emphasized Nestlé's profound influence on global diets and lives, underscoring the necessity for the company to redirect its sales toward healthier options. She cited Nestlé's failure to delineate a strategic shift in its product portfolio as the impetus behind the shareholder resolution.

Nestlé, while acknowledging the ongoing dialogue with ShareAction and the investor coalition, defended its portfolio composition, disputing assertions that a significant portion of its sales stem from unhealthy products. The company contended that it provides a diverse array of offerings, including nutritious and specialized nutrition products.

Last year, Nestlé unveiled its sustainability 2023 report, outlining a 2030 target to augment sales of more nutritious products. However, ShareAction deemed Nestlé's approach as flawed and called for more explicit, measurable targets to promote healthy consumption.

Maria Larsson Ortino, senior global ESG manager at LGIM, echoed these sentiments, expressing disappointment with Nestlé's health target and emphasizing the importance of nutrition in the company's agenda.

Nestlé maintained its stance against imposing restrictive growth measures on specific segments of its portfolio, asserting that such actions could undermine valuable segments without significantly contributing to public health objectives.

The resolution underscores the growing pressure on Nestlé to align its business practices with evolving consumer demands and health imperatives, emphasizing the pivotal role of responsible shareholder activism in driving corporate accountability and sustainability efforts.
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