The overall company scores for Category E can be found in Figure 1. Hindustan Unilever ranks first, followed by Nestlé India and PepsiCo India. Britannia Industries ranks sixth overall and is the highest ranked Indian-headquartered company. These companies have adopted a range of policies to support employee/consumer wellness through a variety of mechanisms, with the highest scoring companies applying their policies throughout the value chain. The 2016 India Index had HUL, Nestlé India and PepsiCo in the same positions, with Nestlé India improving on their previous performance and HUL and PepsiCo India with slightly lower scores.
Within the Indian Food Industry, employees spend approximately a third of their day at work, with long or irregular working hours, unpredictable shifts alongside frequent travel and as a result they often adopt unhealthy food habits, sedentary lifestyles or show signs of work stress. The National Health Policy 2017 of India, emphasises “preventive and promotive health care” (i.e., helping people to increase control over and improve their health), to reduce stress and improve safety at work since the workplace offers an ideal setting to promote employee health.
Initiatives such as the Ethical Tea Partnership with partners like the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), UNICEF and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) have set common goals for tea estate workers in Assam state in North-Eastern India (famous for its tea) that include:
Indian Maternity Policies
Under the Indian Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017, maternity leave was raised from the previous 12 weeks to the current duration of 26 weeks. Prenatal leave was also extended from six to eight weeks.
A woman with two or more children is entitled to 12 weeks’ maternity leave and the prenatal leave in this case remains at six weeks. The Act further requires an employer to inform a woman worker of her rights under the Act at the time of her appointment. The information must be given in writing and in an electronic form to ensure that the rights of the employee are clearly presented to them.
The current Indian regulations on maternity leave are comprehensive when compared to other countries. For example, the US does not offer national statutory paid maternity, paternity or parental leave. The US Family and Medical Leave Act enables some employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave but only 60% of workers are eligible.
Nutrition literacy within the Indian context is currently underdeveloped. The National Nutrition Strategy (NNS) of India follows the rationale that investing in nutrition is globally well recognized as a critical development stage and it is crucial for the fulfillment of human rights — especially for the most vulnerable children, girls, and women. Nutrition literacy constitutes the foundation for human development by reducing susceptibility to infection and related morbidity, disability and mortality and enhancing productivity. Nutrition is acknowledged as one of the most effective entry points for human development, poverty reduction and economic development, with high economic returns. High levels of maternal and child undernutrition in India have persisted, despite strong constitutional and legislative commitments by government.
The India Spotlight Index 2020 research did not include indicators to score and rank companies’ responses to the COVID-19. But ATNI did talk to companies about their initial coping strategies and responses to the pandemic between March and June 2020 and ATNI has been tracking publicly available information on industry’s response globally to the COVID-19 crisis, including in India, and reported on trends, best practices and areas of concern in separate reports. Read more about how companies can positively contribute to addressing the global nutrition challenges in ATNI’s COVID-19 Project.ATNI Covid-19 Project
HUL Health & Wellness Strategy
The Hindustan Unilever’s Health & Wellbeing strategy has been enhanced since 2016 and forms the cornerstone of the company’s approach to supporting healthier diets and lifestyles for its customers, employees and throughout the wider value chain. Through the program, the company has worked to double the amount of products that meet their ‘highest nutritional standards’ (reducing salt, sugar and fat). Support throughout the wider value chain is provided by programs such as ‘Seeds of Prosperity’, which aims to improve the dietary diversity of smallholder farmers and also improve their hygiene facilities. The Hindustan Unilever Lamplighter Program helps employees to improve their diet/nutritional intake and lifestyles for improved health. Other facets aim to change habits by measuring the direct impacts of calorie intake and water intake, for example, in addition to measuring other impacts like employees’ body mass index and blood pressure.
KMF Nandini’s employee support approach
KMF Nandini focuses on the nutrition of all employees by distributing up to 1 L per day of free milk to all employees. It also helps employees to get periodic health checks and cardiologist consultations through its annual medical camps.
PepsiCo India’s 2025 Agenda
The employee element of PepsiCo India’s 2025 Agenda is designed to drive fair and safe working conditions throughout the value chain and address the most salient human rights issues (i.e., freedom of association, human right to water, land rights, vulnerable worker groups, working hours and wages, and workplace safety). PepsiCo India offers policies like 12 weeks of paternity leave, childcare policy, MatCare4U Program (which regularly sends women information on maternity issues), in addition to a multitude of flexible options to accommodate the needs of breastfeeding mothers at work. PepsiCo India also has the ambitious intention to extend the principles of the Supplier Code of Conduct to all franchises and joint ventures by 2025. The Code of Conduct is a 16-point document to ensure that those in the PepsiCo India supply chain uphold the company’s expectations in areas of labor practices, health and safety.
To improve and accelerate their efforts to support healthy diets and active lifestyles among employees, food and beverage manufacturers in India are encouraged to:
To improve and accelerate their efforts to support breastfeeding mothers at work, food and beverage manufacturers in India are encouraged to:
To improve and accelerate their efforts to support healthy diets and active lifestyles among consumers, food and beverage manufacturers in India are encouraged to: