Stakeholder Engagement and Material Issues

Stakeholder Engagement

A fundamental aspect of Creating Shared Value within the communities where we work is effective communication and dialogue with our stakeholders. In the United States, we have a vast network of people, organizations, communities, and influencers whose input helps us better understand the issues that are important to our business. We identify the following groups as important to our continuing business success (in alphabetical order):

  • Academia
  • Communities
  • Consumers
  • Customers
  • Industry and trade associations
  • International organizations
  • Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Shareholders and the financial community
  • State, local, and federal government
  • Suppliers


Materiality is about identifying the issues that matter most to our business and our stakeholders. We plot economic, social, and environmental issues that are of most concern to our external stakeholders against those that pose risks or present opportunities to Nestlé in the U.S. This analysis helps us to identify the risks and opportunities with the highest potential to impact our business, and the issues our stakeholders want to see us cover in our reporting. The analysis complements Nestlé S.A.’s global materiality process, the results of which appear in the Nestlé 2016 materiality matrix.

In 2016, food safety, water stewardship, and safety and health were ranked as the three most important issues for our stakeholders. Particularly for safety and health, the number of stakeholders surveyed who value this issue grew 10 percentage points year over year from our 2015 report. This aligned with our public engagement efforts in 2016 to promote the relaunch of our newly renovated Nestlé Quality Assurance Center in Dublin, Ohio, which focuses on food safety, satisfying all applicable regulatory guidelines, and meeting the quality expectations of Nestlé consumers, customers, and facilities.

Nestlé in the U.S. completed a stakeholder mapping initiative with support from SustainAbility, an independent consultancy and think tank specializing in corporate sustainability. The goal was to take stock of the existing relationships with external stakeholders in the U.S. and prioritize critical NGOs, think tanks, and individual influencers for further engagement and to streamline relationship management. The project used priorities within the Creating Shared Value agenda as the foundation to analyze and measure areas where we are doing external outreach and receiving feedback on our positions. The project allowed teams across the U.S. to identify new influencers and provided an opportunity for us to visually map and categorize gaps where we can do more outreach in the future.

Our goal is to continue to foster a transparent process to engage our stakeholders in discussing and addressing relevant environmental, social, and community topics identified as unique to the United States. As we continue to grow as a business, we are committed to keeping open lines of communication with our stakeholders, working continuously toward our stated commitments.