New Business Network Launches to Drive Action on Nutrition

By Marti J. van Liere, Director, Nutritious Foods for Children and Mothers, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Co-Chair Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network

Back in 2010, an unprecedented movement was launched to scale up action on nutrition. Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) is a country-led movement that brings together hundreds of organizations and entities working to increase the effectiveness of existing programs by supporting national priorities, aligning resources and fostering broad ownership and commitment to nutrition.

This week sees the launch of a business network to support the aims of SUN – at an event in London with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, David Nabarro, Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition for the United Nations and Coordinator of Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), and Joe Costello TD, Minister of State for Trade and Development, Ireland.  Over a hundred senior representatives from SME’s and regional companies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, governments, bilateral donors and civil society will be coming together on 10th and 11th December to discuss the strategic priorities of the new business network.

The SUN Business Network wants to facilitate a broader multi-stakeholder dialogue, and encourage and broker engagement with the business community which it finds critical to effectively bring to scale national efforts to improve access for all to nutritious foods and nutrition services.

Either through unilateral business investment, or catalysed by public-private partnerships, the private sector can provide countries with the right tools for scaling up nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions – including expertise in product development and manufacturing, quality assurance and control, efficient distribution networks – as well as supporting national capacity at the country level. In addition to fortified food products, the private sector can promote healthy behaviours, support appropriate nutrition communication, create mother/child friendly work environments, expand reach to low-income groups/consumers, execute vital research, and build local capacity through technology and knowledge transfer.

The SUN Business Network, which is co-Chaired by GAIN and UN World Food Programme (WFP), will support the overall objective of the SUN Movement by providing a platform for business to align behind Government plans and support the scaling up of nutrition efforts. We understand business to be a very broad and varied constituency ranging from smallholder farmers, to SMEs, to national and international companies along the entire value chain. The Business Network will seek to involve a diverse set of businesses from across sectors including finance, energy and natural resources, logistics and ICT, as well as food companies to deliver solutions.

From our discussions with business to date, three clear priorities have emerged that the new network should focus on:

  1. Acting as an ambassador of business and nutrition
  2. Serving as a broker between the public and private sectors
  3. Being a centre of expertise and experience

In support of this third area, we are this week launching an online community – www.sunbusinessnetwork.org, hosted on Business Fights Poverty – the world’s largest network of business and development professionals.  The online community – which will be open to individuals from both member and non-member organisations of the SUN Business Network – will share insights, cases studies and resources to help businesses scale up their actions on nutrition.

Companies wanting to join the network must commit to the general SUN Principles of Engagement , as well as a Principles of Engagement regarding, human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption. The SBN will develop a public register of commitment to encourage transparency and accountability. Each SBN Member will be asked to submit an annual statement of their commitment to the SUN and Network’s Principles of Engagement, as well as a statement of their concrete support and contributions to progress scaling up nutrition in at least one specific SUN country.

The world has recognised the important role that nutrition plays in improving maternal and child health in the short-term, as well as building the foundation for a healthy, more prosperous future and resilience in times of crisis.  There is also growing recognition of the role that business can play. It is now time for scaling up action.

New Business Network Launches to Drive Action on Nutrition

By Marti J. van Liere, Director, Nutritious Foods for Children and Mothers, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Co-Chair Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network

Back in 2010, an unprecedented movement was launched to scale up action on nutrition. Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) is a country-led movement that brings together hundreds of organizations and entities working to increase the effectiveness of existing programs by supporting national priorities, aligning resources and fostering broad ownership and commitment to nutrition.

This week sees the launch of a business network to support the aims of SUN – at an event in London with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, David Nabarro, Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition for the United Nations and Coordinator of Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), and Joe Costello TD, Minister of State for Trade and Development, Ireland.  Over a hundred senior representatives from SME’s and regional companies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, governments, bilateral donors and civil society will be coming together on 10th and 11th December to discuss the strategic priorities of the new business network.

The SUN Business Network wants to facilitate a broader multi-stakeholder dialogue, and encourage and broker engagement with the business community which it finds critical to effectively bring to scale national efforts to improve access for all to nutritious foods and nutrition services.

Either through unilateral business investment, or catalysed by public-private partnerships, the private sector can provide countries with the right tools for scaling up nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions – including expertise in product development and manufacturing, quality assurance and control, efficient distribution networks – as well as supporting national capacity at the country level. In addition to fortified food products, the private sector can promote healthy behaviours, support appropriate nutrition communication, create mother/child friendly work environments, expand reach to low-income groups/consumers, execute vital research, and build local capacity through technology and knowledge transfer.

The SUN Business Network, which is co-Chaired by GAIN and UN World Food Programme (WFP), will support the overall objective of the SUN Movement by providing a platform for business to align behind Government plans and support the scaling up of nutrition efforts. We understand business to be a very broad and varied constituency ranging from smallholder farmers, to SMEs, to national and international companies along the entire value chain. The Business Network will seek to involve a diverse set of businesses from across sectors including finance, energy and natural resources, logistics and ICT, as well as food companies to deliver solutions.

From our discussions with business to date, three clear priorities have emerged that the new network should focus on:

  1. Acting as an ambassador of business and nutrition
  2. Serving as a broker between the public and private sectors
  3. Being a centre of expertise and experience

In support of this third area, we are this week launching an online community – www.sunbusinessnetwork.org, hosted on Business Fights Poverty – the world’s largest network of business and development professionals.  The online community – which will be open to individuals from both member and non-member organisations of the SUN Business Network – will share insights, cases studies and resources to help businesses scale up their actions on nutrition.

Companies wanting to join the network must commit to the general SUN Principles of Engagement , as well as a Principles of Engagement regarding, human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption. The SBN will develop a public register of commitment to encourage transparency and accountability. Each SBN Member will be asked to submit an annual statement of their commitment to the SUN and Network’s Principles of Engagement, as well as a statement of their concrete support and contributions to progress scaling up nutrition in at least one specific SUN country.

The world has recognised the important role that nutrition plays in improving maternal and child health in the short-term, as well as building the foundation for a healthy, more prosperous future and resilience in times of crisis.  There is also growing recognition of the role that business can play. It is now time for scaling up action.

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