Improving nutrition through the workplace, where 58 percent of the global population spend at least one-third of their adult lives, has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of a range of key solutions to tackling the malnutrition crisis worldwide. The benefits to businesses, meanwhile, have been proven time and time again, with studies estimating the returns on investment (RoI) for companies on workforce nutrition programs to be up to 6:1. Workforce nutrition programs are therefore gaining increasing traction in the private sector, especially those focusing on direct employees.
However, to date, these programs have primarily been concentrated in high-income countries and predominantly for white-collar office workers, while relatively few companies have sought to address malnutrition among their ‘indirect employees’: global supply chain workers.This is despite rates of malnutrition being disproportionately high among low-earning and low-skilled workers in agriculture and low-tech manufacturing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). For example, ATNI’s 2021 Global Access to Nutrition Index found that only eight of the 25 largest food and beverage companies worldwide showed evidence of addressing malnutrition in their supply chains, many of these being largely ad hoc projects with only a marginal focus on nutrition.
Companies therefore have the opportunity and responsibility to address malnutrition in their supply chains
ATNI hopes that this paper provides inspiration to companies to invest in improving nutrition for workers in their supply chains who need it the most. It is a call to action for both companies and other organizations working with companies in their supply chains, including NGOs, policymakers and other accountability mechanism organizations, to engage companies to do more for the nutrition and health of their supply chain workers, and together contribute to ending hunger and poverty globally.