BERLIN, 25th October 2019 — An initiative to raise nutrition standards for workforces across the globe was today announced at The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Sustainable Retail Summit (SRS) in Berlin.
The Consumer Goods Forum, which brings together 400 consumer goods companies and retailers, has joined forces with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to encourage employers to take action on improving the nutritional outcomes for their workers and employees.
“58% of the world’s population will spend one third of their time at work during their adult life”, said Pauline Harper, Interim Director, Health & Wellness at the CGF, “There is clear opportunity to use the workplace to improve nutritional status and tackle poor diets, now the biggest cause of ill health in every country”. CGF members employ more than ten million people directly, and at least ninety million more through their partners and suppliers.
The Alliance will set guidance for interventions and invite individual companies to sign up to implement a programme. It will also facilitate public sector employers and non-state organisations making similar commitments.
The Alliance wants employers to commit to – and take action on – improving the nutritional outcomes of their workers and employees. To achieve this, it will make the case for action, explaining why workforce nutrition matters, what organisations and individuals can do to effect change. It will also gather evidence on the human, economic and nutritional impact of these interventions.
The Alliance will focus increasing employees’ access to healthy and safe foods at work, and helping them to adopt beneficial health habits. It will also encourage company policies which enable working mothers to breastfeed exclusively for six months and continually up to two years.
“Leadership by the private sector can catalyse action on multiple fronts to tackle hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity”, said Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of GAIN, “This workforce programme is one. It makes business sense, and is the right thing to do. We appreciate CGF’s leadership”.
Evidence demonstrates benefits including reduced absenteeism, lower rates of accidents and mistakes, enhanced productivity, and improved health outcomes. Returns on investment are up to 6:1.
The Alliance will invite employers to sign a Commitment Register and report periodically on making workforce nutrition a key component of their health and wellness plans and activities. “We hope that government agencies and civil society organisations will also sign up”, added Haddad.
The Alliance commitments will form part of the agenda of the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit being hosted by Japan, currently planned for December 2020, which will tackle health challenges and mobilise global commitments to make nutritious and healthy diets more available to all.
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NOTE TO EDITORS
About The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is a Swiss-based foundation launched at the United Nations in 2002 to tackle the human suffering caused by malnutrition. Working with governments, businesses and civil society, we aim to transform food systems so that they deliver more nutritious foods for all people, especially the most vulnerable. For more information visit: www.gainhealth.org
Scope of actions: this Workforce Nutrition Alliance wants employers to commit to – and take action on – improving the nutritional outcomes of their workers and employees. To achieve this, it will:
- Make the case for action, telling the story of why workforce nutrition matters, what organisations and individuals can do to effect change, and telling the story of existing successes.
- Gather and share evidence on the economic and nutritional impact of workforce nutrition interventions, as well as measures of dignity, happiness, and wellbeing.
- Work with others to ensure that WFN is integrated into existing accountability mechanisms.
- Convene and connect changemakers within small, medium and large organisations to help them meet their employees’ nutritional needs and to promote peer support.
- Invite leading organisations to make workforce nutrition as a key component of the health and wellness plans and activities, in the leadup to the Tokyo 2020 N4G summit and beyond, signing a Commitment Register and reporting periodically on progress
The Alliance will focus on four intervention areas which companies can consider, where the evidence is strongest – see GAIN’s evidence briefs:
- Healthy food at work focuses on increasing employees’ access to healthy and safe foods at work.
- Nutrition education aims to change the nutrition and/or lifestyle behaviours of employees through increasing employees’ knowledge of beneficial health habits
- Nutrition-focused health checks: periodic one-to-one meetings with a health or nutrition professional to assess, and usually discuss, the employee’s nutritional health.
- Breastfeeding support: programmes or company policies which enable working mothers to breastfeed exclusively for six months and continually up to two years.
For more materials on workforce nutrition, visit https://nutritionconnect.org/priority-areas/workforce-nutrition
Click to read the CGF-GAIN Convening Paper.
For further information, please contact:
The Consumer Goods Forum
Director, Policy, GAIN