FOCUSING ON NUTRITION: Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck‑Letmathe visits Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences laboratories in November 2012 as part of NIHS’ inauguration
We have always believed that in order to prosper we need the communities we serve and in which we operate to prosper as well: and that over the long term, healthy populations, healthy economies and healthy business performance are mutually reinforcing.
We recognise that our position in society brings both opportunities and responsibilities: to do business in compliance with national laws, international standards and our own Corporate Business Principles; and in ways that help protect the environment for future generations.
Thus, our commitments to sustainability and compliance are based on common-sense values; and form the foundations upon which we build our actions in Creating Shared Value. We also restate our support for the UN Global Compact as a founding member of UN Global Compact LEAD – a new platform for corporate sustainability leadership.
Creating Shared Value
We believe that we can create value for our shareholders and society by doing business in ways that specifically help address global and local issues in the areas of nutrition, water and rural development. This is what we mean when we speak about Creating Shared Value (CSV). We proactively identify opportunities to link our core business activities to action on related social issues.
That is why we have called this report Nestlé in Society: Creating Shared Value and Meeting our Commitments. This year, our print report is focused on nutrition, but it also covers our commitments to compliance, including human rights, progress in our other CSV priority areas of water and rural development, as well as in environmental sustainability. The scope of this online report is ambitious, reflecting our determination to meet our responsibilities and play our part in addressing global challenges.
Focusing on Nutrition
For us, there is no higher priority than enhancing the quality of life of our consumers by providing tastier and healthier food and beverage choices. Consequently, we are acutely aware of the escalating food and nutrition crisis, which is closely linked to the global water crisis, amongst other things.
In both water and nutrition, as in many pressing global issues, it is important to take collective action. If we do not, everyone in the world, whether in developed or developing countries, will soon become aware of the consequences as both food and fresh, clean water grow increasingly scarce and expensive.
How urgent is the food and water crisis? The facts speak for themselves:
- There are 870 million undernourished people in the world today. (World Food Programme)
- Two billion people – nearly one-third of the world population – suffer from deficiencies in Iron, Iodine, Vitamin A, Zinc, or a combination of these. More than 740 million people suffer from iodine deficiency disorders; while the World Health Organization estimates that 250 million preschool children are vitamin A deficient.
- Globally, an estimated 43 million preschool children were overweight or obese in 2010, a 60 percent increase since 1990, of which over 80% live in developing countries (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2010).
- Today, 31 countries face chronic freshwater stress and shortages. By 2025, this is estimated to rise to 48 countries as water withdrawal outpaces renewal. (United Nations Environment Programme )
These challenges will only get more pressing as the global population rises towards a predicted 10 billion by 2100.
Guatemala visit: Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke visits the Nestlé‑sponsored Nutrimovil programme in Guatemala, offering free nutritional advice to lower income consumers.
As the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company, we have a unique opportunity to help address the food and water crises; in particular the specific nutrition challenges facing consumers at a local level: from over-nutrition to under-nutrition including micronutrient deficiencies. This ‘double burden’ of malnutrition and stress it places on already overstretched healthcare systems is a pressing challenge for us all. This is why we have made nutrition the main theme of our 2012 Nestlé in Society: Creating Shared Value and Meeting our Commitments Summary report.
We have set our actions during 2012, in the context of five key nutrition challenges: advancing science to address global nutrition issues; helping mothers give children the best start in life; helping families meet their nutritional needs; helping meet the nutritional needs of people in emerging markets; and helping meet the needs of older people and those with other specific nutritional requirements.
The Focus on Nutrition section of the Summary report explains what we are doing to help address each one of these areas: for example through micronutrient fortification and systematic reductions in public health-sensitive ingredients (e.g. salt, sugar, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids); and by providing better advice to consumers about ingredients, portion size and their nutritional needs. It also summarises our involvement in nutrition education campaigns worldwide, including our Healthy Kids programmes, and the fundamental role that R&D plays in everything we do – from the genomic studies underway at the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences to bio-fortification and the behavioural work we are doing across our global R&D network.
We must emphasise that the nutrition challenges the world faces require concerted collective action rather than sporadic, isolated projects. We can play a valuable leadership role in support of this concerted action. We have the capacity and, even more importantly, the determination to do so.
Water, Rural Development and More
This website, which is also our complete report, provides more detail on our ambitions, achievements and commitments in all areas including nutrition, water, rural development, environmental sustainability, compliance and human rights. These confirm that we have made progress in meeting our CSV, sustainability and compliance commitments during 2012.
Meeting our Commitments
We have set out our ambitions to make a difference through key forward commitments on nutrition, water, rural development, environmental sustainability, compliance and human rights.
Sharing your views
We hope you find our Nestlé in Society communications informative and engaging. We welcome your input and views, which you can share with us by using the Contact us area of our website.