One of the biggest issues facing humanity is hunger. Perhaps the most basic need, and yet one that is still keenly felt by millions of people around the world. Through the implementation of a Shared Value strategy, business can play a role in the achievement of the second UN Sustainable Development Goal, Zero Hunger.
Nestlé is a company that has always had a sense of purpose around feeding the hungry – “innovating products… so that [we] can keep nations alive”, as Nestlé South Africa Group Public Affairs Executive Motshidisi Mokwena explained at the 2017 Africa Shared Value Summit. The eradication of hunger plays a big role in the Nestlé Shared Value strategy, focusing on expanding access to nutrition. In the pursuit of this goal, they had reconceived almost 6 500 products for nutrition or health considerations by 2007. Their Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme, which promotes healthy diets and lifestyles, has reached 8,3 million children in 84 countries worldwide. They have fortified many of their key products with micronutrients to address undernutrition. Through ‘Popularly Positioned Products’, they make versions of classic Nestlé brands available and accessible to lower income markets.
Part of solving the problem of global hunger is enabling farmers to grow better quality and more sustainable produce, and reduce food waste. 0tentic8’s mobile app, AgriLedger, uses blockchain technology to provide farmers and the entire agricultural supply chain with accurate information. This also helps to level the playing field between buyer and seller, creating what founder Genevieve Leveille, who also spoke at the 2017 Summit, calls a “circle of trust”. The app helps farmers to keep records, access trustworthy information, and trace each product from seed all the way to the consumer. It also has the added benefit of enabling the farmers to create a digital identity when they lack other formal identification, which can be used to access financial services and social benefits.
When Woolworths integrated the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their Good Business Journey, it became clear that, as one of South Africa’s biggest food retailers, they had an opportunity to incorporate the second goal into their Shared Value strategy. They have committed to improving food security in South Africa, distributing surplus food to thousands of charities, supporting their EduPlant Programme – which enables schools to grow their own sustainable food – and gathering employees to volunteer their time in EduPlant school food gardens. They are working with their supply chain to reduce the environmental impact, improve workers’ conditions, and encourage procurement from sustainable sources. This all contributes to the Woolworths consumer promise of delivering the best-quality produce, cementing them as the country’s premier high-end supermarket chain.
Hunger is an issue with which everyone can relate – and business has the ability to make an impact at scale, through the adoption of a Shared Value mindset. Social challenges are opportunities for innovation and growth – to do good business while also doing good.
Image Source: Distilled Photography