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Category G - Undernutrition: Engagement

Engaging with stakeholders to address undernutrition / 5% of the total undernutrition score

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To perform well on undernutrition in Category G, companies should:

  • Commit to playing an active part in supporting the efforts of developing country governments to address undernutrition, and publicly disclose a narrative about such activities.
  • Provide evidence of engagement with relevant organizations on undernutrition and publicly disclose a narrative on their engagement with stakeholders on undernutrition.
Group 100 Created with Sketch. Governance A Lifestyles E Engagement G 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Labeling F Accessibility C Marketing D Products B 2016 2018 2,3 1,7

Average scores for category G undernutrition in 2018 and 2016

Is there evidence that companies play an active part in supporting developing country governments in addressing undernutrition?

Six companies commit to supporting governments in their efforts to address undernutrition: Ajinomoto, Danone, FrieslandCampina, Kellogg, Nestlé and PepsiCo. For several companies, this commitment is not limited to addressing undernutrition or to developing countries, but explicitly mentions supporting governments’ efforts to address undernutrition. For example, Danone indicates that it does not separate undernutrition from (other) nutrition issues. In countries where undernutrition is a priority, the company commits to contact authorities to play a constructive role in combating the identified deficiencies. It provides evidence of doing so through its ‘Nutripack’ program in developing countries to support governments’ efforts to address undernutrition.

Information about concrete examples of government support is limited. Ajinomoto, FrieslandCampina and Mondelez reported two relevant examples each of having engaged with governments in support of addressing undernutrition in developing countries. Danone, Kellogg and Unilever reported one relevant example each.
Ajinomoto provides several examples, including an initiative in Brazil. The International Council on Amino Acid Science (ICAAS), a non-for-profit association of which Ajinomoto is a member, has been involved in establishing a framework for the nutritional use of essential amino acids. In addition, Ajinomoto has been interacting with the Vietnamese government to set up a national dietician system, in response to a study that demonstrated the country lacked crucial nutritional expertize.
FrieslandCampina reports that its business entity in Nigeria co-funds and collaborates with the federal government’s ‘Home Grown School Feeding’ program in public schools at the primary school level.

To what extent do companies engage systematically with all relevant stakeholders on undernutrition in developing countries? Is this changing over time?

Four companies provide evidence of one-on-one discussions with three or more key organizations working on undernutrition to solicit input on its commercial strategy/policy/approach to undernutrition: Including Danone, FrieslandCampina and Unilever. Of these, Unilever is the only company to provide a narrative related to its activities on its corporate website.

Five companies interact with one or two relevant organizations, and three companies in total provide a narrative related to it. With the same number of companies disclosing such narratives in 2016, and frequently mentioned organizations being industry associations such as GAIN, limited improvement has occurred relating to stakeholder engagement on undernutrition in developing countries.

Recommendations for improvement

  • Structured government engagement in developing countries where companies are present

Although a number of companies report relevant engagement with governments to support addressing undernutrition, the initiatives appear to be ad-hoc rather than structured. It is recommended that companies define a structured approach to interact with governments of developing countries, individually or through industry associations, or organizations such as the SUN Business Network, to explore how government goals or initiatives to address undernutrition could be supported.

  • More stakeholder engagement to solicit input on companies’ commercial strategies

Companies should increase their efforts to engage with expert organizations to inform their undernutrition strategies and to improve them over time, and publicly disclose more information of their engagement with such stakeholders.

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