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Two thirds of UK adults want Nestlé to reduce the amount of unhealthy food it produces as pension schemes and asset managers line up to vote for shareholder proposal

(Wednesday 3rd April) A group of shareholders in the world’s largest food manufacturer Nestlé have today announced they will be supporting a resolution calling on the company to increase the number of healthy food options they offer compared to the amount of unhealthy food they sell.

The decision of these pension funds and asset managers comes as new polling for the responsible investment charity ShareAction shows overwhelming public support in the call for Nestlé to reduce the scale of unhealthy food it produces.

The ten investors who have declared their support for the resolution manage over £154 billion in assets between them. Among the ten are some of the UK’s largest pension funds including the UK’s largest workplace pension scheme, NEST, who manage over £30 billion in UK pension assets, PensionBee, who manage £4.4 billion of assets, and asset manager Cardano, who manage £53 billion of assets.

Commenting on their decision to declare their votes in support of the resolution, Holly Gabriel from ShareAction, the responsible investment charity, who have been coordinating the resolution, said:

“The announcement that ten leading investors and Nestlé shareholders will be supporting this resolution is a major success in the campaign to get Nestlé to reduce the number of unhealthy products and increase the healthy ones it offers customers.

“This should be a driver for other major shareholders to look at the overwhelming evidence of the damaging impact that food high in fat, salt and sugar is having on public health. And this should lead them to one conclusion – supporting this resolution.”

The decision by these shareholders comes as ShareAction releases the results of a public opinion poll which shows that two thirds, 65.2%, of people support the demand that Nestlé should reduce the amount of unhealthy food it produces.

Support from individuals saving for a pension was ever greater. 67% of those with a workplace pension agreed that Nestlé should reduce the amount of unhealthy food it produces, and for those who had their own self-invested personal pensions (SIPP), the number who agreed leapt to 83%.

Commenting on the results of the poll, Simon Rawson from ShareAction said:

“It should be clear to Nestlé that people want to see them reduce the amount of unhealthy food and increase the amount of healthy food they sell.

“This should also be a wakeup call to pension schemes who have investments in Nestlé about their members’ views. Voting in support of this resolution will send a clear signal to Nestlé about the change its shareholders and their beneficiaries want to see.”

One pension company who are supporting the resolution is the UK’s largest workplace pension provider NEST. Commenting on why they had chosen to support the resolution, Tom Sanders, ESG Analyst from NEST said:

“Nestlé rely too heavily on the sales of products high in fat, sugar and salt. With the likelihood of further government policy interventions due to global growth in health crisis, it’s important that food manufacturers future proof their businesses and promote healthier eating.”

“There is also a huge opportunity for a company like Nestlé, with growing consumer demand for healthier products. We want them to be ahead of the curve by tapping into this new market. For these reasons, we’ll be supporting the shareholder resolution.”

The resolution was filed by five Nestlé shareholders, including one of Europe’s largest investment managers, Legal and General Investment Managment (LGIM).

Nestlé’s AGM will take place in Switzerland on the 18th of April.

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