Unilever joins forces against hunger
On the day of the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, CEO Paul Polman took part in a high-level meeting urging the world to take decisive action before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio to transform the life chances of millions of children by improving their nutrition.
The meeting – called The Global Hunger Event – was hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer. It brought together representatives from international governments, charities and businesses at Downing Street.
New initiatives announced
Scientific innovation, better accountability by governments and greater co-operation between governments, civil society and business can all help tackle under-nutrition, prevent stunting and improve children’s life chances. Three new initiatives were announced on these areas, one of which is focused on private sector liaison with an alliance of leading UK companies.
Making nutrition available to the poor
Speaking at the event, Polman outlined the purpose and aim of the business alliance: “It will leverage heavily the initiatives already underway and hopefully create scale; focused on specific projects to make more nutritious food available to poor families and children in developing countries at prices which they can afford. We will equally focus on health hygiene and environmental problems which contribute to under-nutrition.”
Sharpening the UK’s contribution
Paul spoke on behalf of the group that Unilever convened jointly with DfID (Department for International Development) and GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) before the event. The core group of UK-based companies included Accenture Development Partnerships, Associated British Foods, Cargill, DSM, GlaxoSmithKline and Syngenta. These were joined by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Save the Children UK.
On the group’s purpose, Paul said: “This is an effort to create a new partnership between UK business, government and NGOs to further sharpen the UK contribution to the public-private models. We aim to enrol other companies and develop plans for a broader UK business alliance.”