Geneva, Switzerland – What do Danone, Unilever, Nestlé and 22 other food and beverage manufacturers have in common?
They’ve been ranked on the global Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI), which was just released by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.
The ranking and report assessed the nutrition-related commitments, performance and disclosure practices of 25 of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers as measured against guidelines, norms and accepted best practices.
Danone, Unilever and Nestlé are the top performers on the index, receiving the highest scores on both the obesity and under-nutrition rankings.
But even they have room for improvement with the highest score being 6.3 on a 10.0 point scale.
“Obesity and under-nutrition affect billions of people and threaten a global health catastrophe. The Access to Nutrition Index is an urgent call to action for food and beverage manufacturers to integrate improved nutrition into their business strategies. It is not only good for public health; it is a business imperative and key to their long-term sustainability,” explains Inge Kauer, executive director of ATNI.
How it was put together
The three-year initiative was funded by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
Development of ATNI was housed at GAIN and involved an extensive, multi-stakeholder process that included input from governments, international organizations, civil society, academia, and investors at every phase of the process. It was also guided by advice from an independent, multi-stakeholder advisory panel and a group of experts on nutrition.
Company research and assessments were conducted by MSCI ESG Research using publicly available documents supplemented by additional information requested from each company.
ATNI evaluated companies on:
• Corporate strategy, management and governance related to nutrition
• Formulation and delivery of appropriate, affordable and accessible products
• Positive influence on consumer choice and behaviour
Some of the report’s key findings include:
• The highest scoring companies have clear commitments, detailed policies and measurable targets related to nutrition. They have also charged senior executives with achieving these targets and provided incentives for them to do so.
• Companies’ practices often do not measure up to their commitments. Companies are missing key opportunities to implement their commitments in core business areas such as product formulation, marketing and distribution.
• Companies are not meaningfully engaged in addressing under-nutrition and could better leverage their expertise, skills and scale to help combat this global health challenge.
The report challenges companies to:
• Develop clear and measurable objectives and targets to improve nutrition. This is critical to ensuring that nutrition considerations become central to companies’ core business activities such as product development, pricing, distribution, and marketing.
• Translate commitments to improve nutrition into action and develop mechanisms to track and monitor progress.
• Increase public disclosure of nutrition activities. Such disclosure underpins credibility, strengthens any evaluation of their nutrition practices, and heightens accountability.
• For companies that manufacture breast-milk substitutes, ensure full compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in all countries.
For more information on the report, visit: www.accesstonutrition.org/home
Photo: Kelle Hampton