Blog: Nestle's Mugabe link leaves sour taste
Dean Best | 29 September 2009
For all Nestlé's assertions that it is in something of a Catch 22 situation in Zimbabwe, the revelation that it sources milk from a farm owned by the wife of President Robert Mugabe leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
The Swiss food giant has admitted that it gets up to 15% of its milk from the impoverished African nation from Mrs Mugabe's Gushungo Dairy Estate.
What's more, Nestlé told us yesterday (28 September) that it will continuing sourcing milk from the farm "for the foreseeable future" - and pointed to the "crisis" in the country's dairy sector.
Nestlé claims it has lost half of its contracted suppliers in the country and turned to a number of non-contracted suppliers - including Mrs Mugabe - to shore up its supplies.
"Should Nestlé decide to close down its operations in Zimbabwe, the company would trigger further food shortages and hundreds of job losses among its employees and milk suppliers in an already very difficult situation," a spokesman said.
The Nestlé spokesman insisted that the world's largest food manufacturer was "in full compliance with our corporate business principles" - despite a 10-page "code of conduct" on the group's website in which it claims to "condemn any form of bribery and corruption".
Remember the criticism - and Western consumer boycotts - Nestlé faced over allegations surrounding its promotion of infant formula in developing countries? It is clear, then, that this is not the first time the company has attracted the wrong kind of headlines over its operations in Africa.
Commenting on the link to Mugabe, one CSR expert told us: "There are PR own goals and there are PR own goals. As this is a 30-yard drive into the top corner."
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
To follow on from our earlier notice and after some hard work from our technical team, just-food is back live after today's power outage....
Much of the UK has felt the impact of Storm Doris today - and just-food's head office has been no exception....
- General Mills sales woes continue - analysis
- Why personalisation will take-off in US food
- Comment: Meal kits in US - don't believe the hype
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Analysis: Chocolate sector's deforestation pledge
- Unilever 'lining up spreads sale'
- UK own-label firm Park Cakes sold in MBO
- Kraft Heinz cuts jobs in US, Canada
- Immigration crackdown "risk" for US dairy industry
- BRF plant suspended amid bribery allegations