By Chavanne Hanson
Deputy Head of Global Public Affairs
27 September 2018
Today, the United Nations (UN) hosts a highly anticipated meeting to discuss progress and next steps on fighting chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease – otherwise known as non-communicable diseases, or NCDs.
We’re keen to play our part, and indeed both the UN and World Health Organization (WHO) recently called upon food and beverage companies like Nestlé to engage in the battle against such diseases.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros wrote: "We must use whatever partnerships are open to us, in whatever way we can, to achieve our goals… it’s the only way."
And the Co-Chair of the WHO’s Commission on NCDs, Dr. Sania Nishtar called for a 'fresh working relationship' with the private sector, stating that: "Attacking lifestyle choices, corporate interests, vilifying others or creating an over-simplistic enemy narrative won’t work."
At Nestlé, we couldn’t agree more, and are encouraged to see leaders in the global health community make such public calls for collaboration.
Uniquely effective partner
Our direct access to, and understanding of, consumers enables us to be a uniquely effective partner in the battle against NCDs, through our commitment to offering people tastier and healthier food and beverage choices, and inspiring them to lead healthier lives.
'Enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future' is Nestlé’s company purpose. It is reflected in our commitments to society, which we deliver on by constantly innovating and reformulating our food and beverage portfolio.
We’re marketing our products and services responsibly, providing transparent nutrition information, and have actively invested millions of dollars in promoting healthier lifestyles – not just for our employees but across communities worldwide.
Despite our efforts, some critics in the public heath community question our interests and actively work to keep us at arm’s length. They fear that we’ll interfere with public policy development, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Making a positive difference
As a registered dietitian working for Nestlé, I’ve been inspired by the collaboration, genuine interest and opportunities we have to make a positive difference to the lives of the individuals and families we serve.
As a successful and growing business, it’s critical that we demonstrate value to all stakeholders. And we have seen how our investments in the good health and well-being of our consumers is key to a sustainable business model — and more importantly to the future of our society.
Indeed, we are convinced that we have to create value for our shareholders and society at the same time. We call this Creating Shared Value.
If we truly want to beat NCDs, we must activate private sector actions in support of the global public health agenda. NCDs have become the primary cause of mortality across the globe. Winning the fight against this global epidemic requires a collective effort from all stakeholders—industry, government, NGOs and beyond.
We know our industry as a whole has more work to do, which is why at today’s UN meeting, we ask not just that participants engage with industry, but for recognition and support on how to leverage our expertise and resources to deliver a portfolio and services that contribute to the health and wellness of consumers worldwide.
With so much at stake, we must work together – bringing all our strengths to the table.
Chavanne is a registered dietician and Head of Nutrition, Health & Wellness for Global Public Affairs. In this role, Chavanne shares our accomplishments and global mission with stakeholders, the public and public health leaders like the World Health Organisation.Follow Chavanne on LinkedIn Follow Chavanne on Twitter