Scaling Up Nutrition through Business, Markets and People

New York, Wednesday 24th, September, 2014

During the UN General Assembly, the SUN Business Network (SBN) hosted a high level roundtable on the role of business in scaling up nutrition with leaders from the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, developing country governments, civil society, UN agencies, donors and business leaders to discuss how to increase the involvement of business in combating malnutrition. Senior SUN leaders such as Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever and Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID, joined the discussion.

Over 50 companies have made commitments in support of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, reflected on the need to involve companies beyond the food sector to scale up nutrition. Unilever has led the way in developing nutrition sensitive interventions to scale up nutrition. The Lifebuoy soap brand aims to improve hand washing among birth attendants and family members as a strategy to reduce newborn deaths in developing countries.  Unilever is committed to reaching 500,000 mothers or 2.5 million people through Neo Natal hand washing programmes by 2015.

Tomoya Yoshizumi, President of Ajinomoto North America, commented on the need for more partnerships between stakeholders to improve maternal and infant nutrition. Through the Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project, Ajinomoto have developed a nutritional supplement KOKO plus. This project will aim to achieve the nutrition improvement of about 200,000 weaning children, 100,000 pregnant and lactating mothers and 250,000 school age children, between 2015 and 2017. Mark Murphy, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Cargill, highlighted their support to small-medium enterprises in Africa to deliver fortified oil and nutrition education to communities in their supply chain, adding that ensuring greater business to business collaboration was key to improving nutrition through the value chain.

The event concluded with a number of challenges and ways forward to scaling up business efforts for nutrition. In particular:

  • Momentum is growing within the business network, but further outreach to companies is required, along with greater articulation of the network’s consumer market commitments, particularly towards the bottom of the pyramid.
  • There is a need to use the SBN as a platform to help SMEs, entrepreneurs and smallholders to build markets for nutritious products.
  • Greater advocacy should be targeted towards business leaders, and workforce policy is a highly relevant first step that a greater number of businesses should take.
  • There is disconnection between the needs of SUN countries and what business can offer. This is demonstrated by SBN’s initial analysis of a lack of business investment in the 1000 days window, and highlighted by lessons from the Project LaserBeam project. It was suggested by Raj Shah, Administrator, USAID, that we further examine, as networks, where actions, lessons and scale up can be identified for the bottom of the pyramid.
  • There has been little alignment between public sectors and private sectors on nutrition. In many SUN countries the dialogue barely exists. There needs to be a brokerage role, which is where the SUN Movement as a whole, and the SUN Business Network specifically can contribute.
  • The funding disconnect between demand and supply needs to be addressed. Although funding is available for business engagement, it is not currently being utilised by all donors.

See more on the Guardian Press Release 

Scaling Up Nutrition through Business, Markets and People

New York, Wednesday 24th, September, 2014

During the UN General Assembly, the SUN Business Network (SBN) hosted a high level roundtable on the role of business in scaling up nutrition with leaders from the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, developing country governments, civil society, UN agencies, donors and business leaders to discuss how to increase the involvement of business in combating malnutrition. Senior SUN leaders such as Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever and Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID, joined the discussion.

Over 50 companies have made commitments in support of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, reflected on the need to involve companies beyond the food sector to scale up nutrition. Unilever has led the way in developing nutrition sensitive interventions to scale up nutrition. The Lifebuoy soap brand aims to improve hand washing among birth attendants and family members as a strategy to reduce newborn deaths in developing countries.  Unilever is committed to reaching 500,000 mothers or 2.5 million people through Neo Natal hand washing programmes by 2015.

Tomoya Yoshizumi, President of Ajinomoto North America, commented on the need for more partnerships between stakeholders to improve maternal and infant nutrition. Through the Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project, Ajinomoto have developed a nutritional supplement KOKO plus. This project will aim to achieve the nutrition improvement of about 200,000 weaning children, 100,000 pregnant and lactating mothers and 250,000 school age children, between 2015 and 2017. Mark Murphy, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Cargill, highlighted their support to small-medium enterprises in Africa to deliver fortified oil and nutrition education to communities in their supply chain, adding that ensuring greater business to business collaboration was key to improving nutrition through the value chain.

The event concluded with a number of challenges and ways forward to scaling up business efforts for nutrition. In particular:

  • Momentum is growing within the business network, but further outreach to companies is required, along with greater articulation of the network’s consumer market commitments, particularly towards the bottom of the pyramid.
  • There is a need to use the SBN as a platform to help SMEs, entrepreneurs and smallholders to build markets for nutritious products.
  • Greater advocacy should be targeted towards business leaders, and workforce policy is a highly relevant first step that a greater number of businesses should take.
  • There is disconnection between the needs of SUN countries and what business can offer. This is demonstrated by SBN’s initial analysis of a lack of business investment in the 1000 days window, and highlighted by lessons from the Project LaserBeam project. It was suggested by Raj Shah, Administrator, USAID, that we further examine, as networks, where actions, lessons and scale up can be identified for the bottom of the pyramid.
  • There has been little alignment between public sectors and private sectors on nutrition. In many SUN countries the dialogue barely exists. There needs to be a brokerage role, which is where the SUN Movement as a whole, and the SUN Business Network specifically can contribute.
  • The funding disconnect between demand and supply needs to be addressed. Although funding is available for business engagement, it is not currently being utilised by all donors.

See more on the Guardian Press Release 

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