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Shareholder vote on Nestlé health resolution

(Thursday 18 April) Today, a proposal by a coalition of shareholders in the world’s largest food manufacturer Nestlé, who believe the company must increase the ratio of healthy foods it offers consumers, will go to a vote at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM).

Coordinated by responsible investment charity ShareAction, shareholders have put forward a resolution to Nestlé that aims to move the company away from over-reliance on products high in fat, sugar and salt to healthier eating options.

They argue that Nestlé, alongside other large food manufacturers, risk missing the opportunity to meet growing consumer demand for more healthy products and face increasing regulatory pressure from governments legislating to tackle the rising costs of poor health.

Holly Gabriel, registered nutritionist and consumer health lead at ShareAction, who will attend the AGM and speak in favour of the resolution, said:

“While Nestlé made assurances that it would set an ambitious target to improve its healthier food offering, the target it released in September last year was inadequate.

“It gives investors no reassurance that sales won’t continue to jeopardise public health and expose the company to so much unnecessary risk.

“The trends that have led to shareholders filing this resolution are not going away, and in fact data suggests they are going to get worse.

“Nestlé must respond to these concerns and set a target that increases the share of healthier food it sells, which would also help the company meet its own commitment to contribute to a healthier future.”

The resolution was co-filed by five institutional investors with $1.68tn in assets under management, including Legal and General Investment Management, one of Europe’s largest asset managers.

Polling for ShareAction found two thirds of UK pension savers agreed Nestlé should reduce the amount of unhealthy food it produces. The resolution has also drawn support from leading public health experts in the UK, and investors pre-declaring their support including UK pension scheme NEST and PensionBee.

The WHO reports that unhealthy diets are a key factor behind the global growth in rates of obesity, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. It is estimated that obesity will cost the global economy $4.32 trillion a year by 2035.

Notes to editors

More information on the resolution can be found here, and the full resolution text can be read here and the list of co-filing investors is below:

Co-filers: Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), Candriam, La Francaise Asset Management, VGZ, and Guys and St Thomas’s Foundation

ShareAction is an NGO working to shape a world where the financial system serves our planet and its people. We mobilise global investors to use their influence to drive up labour standards, tackle climate change, protect the natural world, and improve people’s health. We push policymakers to ensure the financial system is working in the best interests of society. We work with people to create a movement for change. Visit or follow us @ShareAction to find out more.

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