Save the Children criticises Nestle for 'ombudsman' plan

Save the Children has attacked a Nestle whistle-blowing scheme as a public relations exercise.

Nestle employees can anonymously report to company ombudsmen any breach of World Health Organisation guidelines on marketing infant formula. But Save the Children is concerned whistle-blowers will only be able to complain to Nestle ombudsmen in the countries in question.

Anna King, nutrition adviser at Save the Children, said: "It's a positive step, but we recommended that employees should be reporting directly to the chief executive."

Scott Clouder, a researcher at ECRA, an organisation that runs business-screening services for charities, agreed that the concessions were not enough.

"Nestle is employing and paying the ombudsmen, so I don't know how impartial it would be,

he said.

Marcel Rubin, corporate spokesman for Nestle, said: "The ombudsman has to be outside the chain of command of line management and can't be from marketing, production, legal or human resources departments."

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