Nestlé backs Millennium Villages Project with USD 400,000 boost

Sep 23, 2010
Man planting crops TRANSFORMING LIVES: The Millennium Villages Project demonstrates that investing in practical interventions such as improved seed and fertilizers for raising crop productivity, can lead to a transformation in village life.

Nestlé pledges USD 400,000 (over CHF 397,000) to support food and nutrition initiatives as part of the Millennium Villages Project.

The two-year funding boost aims to advance progress in eliminating hunger, increase food security, and achieve the nutrition-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the 14 Millennium Villages across ten countries in Africa. 

The pledge was announced as world leaders met at the three-day United Nations (UN) Summit from September 20-22 in New York, to assess and accelerate progress towards the 2015 MDGs.

Paul Bulcke, Nestlé CEO, emphasised that its pledge reflects the Company’s commitment to nutrition, water, and rural development through its Creating Shared Value (CSV) business approach.

He said: “Creating Shared Value is a fundamental part of Nestlé's way of doing business.  It means that for a company to be successful in the long term, it should not only create value for shareholders but also for society at large. We believe that businesses that build corporate social responsibility into their basic business model can make a significant contribution to society, and the UN MDGs. Nestlé is proud to support the Earth Institute in its global food and nutrition systems and to be part of this exciting time in proving how we can meet goals for global development.”

The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) – which is a partnership initiative between the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the United States, Millennium Promise Alliance and the UN Development Programme – works with impoverished rural communities to apply evidence based policies and interventions recommended by the UN Millennium Project.  The UN Millennium Project was commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2002 to develop a concrete action plan for the world to achieve the MDGs and to reverse poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people.

The core idea of the MVP is to demonstrate that investing in practical interventions – such as improved seed and fertilizers for raising crop productivity, nutrition and school meals, long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to reduce malaria, clinics to dispense effective treatment and care, and safe drinking water – would lead to a transformation in village life.

The 80 Millennium Villages, covering 500,000 people in “hunger hotspots”, in ten sub-Saharan African countries with varying agro-ecological settings, demonstrate that the Millennium Development Goals are achievable with the right approach and level of investment.

The commitment from Nestlé will help various nutritional campaigns in Millennium Villages that promote food access and production, antenatal nutrition, school meals programmes, and nutrition education.  Plans also include capacity-building initiatives that will help Millennium Village communities meet their own needs for nutritional expertise. 

Nestlé’s pledge will also support a campaign to improve nutrition in the Millennium Villages led by the Earth Institute that serves as a demonstration model for global efforts to eliminate hunger and decrease malnourishment.

Jeffrey Sachs, left, Director for the Earth Institute with Niels Christiansen, Nestlé Vice President of Public Affairs.
Jeffrey Sachs, left, Director for the Earth Institute with Niels Christiansen, Nestlé Vice President of Public Affairs.

Jeffrey Sachs, Director for the Earth Institute, added: “This week, as leaders from around the world gather at the UN Summit, it is partnerships such as the one with Nestlé that move us closer to achieving the goals.  A billion people on this planet are hungry – this is a global tragedy that requires urgent attention.  The Millennium Villages in Africa are proving that we can meet Millennium Development Goals for nutrition and beat global hunger.”

In addition with this commitment, Nestlé expands its relationship with the Earth Institute in becoming a Strategic Partner of the Earth Institute Corporate Circle and joins key private sector leaders who are making considerable progress toward sustainable development.

During the UN General Assembly high-level events, Nestlé also presented the prestigious Sukuma Afrika Young Entrepreneur Award to Ms Elorm Goh, a Ghanaian entrepreneur, to highlight the eradicating poverty and hunger MDG Number 1. 

The award was presented at a ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange in partnership with the United Nations and investment communications firm Africa investor.

The Sukuma Afrika Young Entrepreneur’s Competition is open to African youth up to 35 years of age, presenting a for-profit business model which contributes to one or more of the MDGs.

Related information:
Nestlé and the United Nations Millenium Development Goals 2010 (pdf, 2 Mb)
Millennium Villages Project
Millennium Development Goals Summit 2010
United Nations Development Programme