Creating Shared Values to Beat Malnutrition

“An estimated 3.35 million Filipino children suffering from malnourishment and even though the government is doing its part, it cannot do everything necessary to solve the problem of malnutrition.”

That’s what I learned in the recently concluded Creating Shared Values (CSV) Forum last April 23 at the New World Hotel in Makati City.

With guest speakers Mario Capanza of Food and Nutrition Research Institute (an office under the Department of Science and Technology) and Mark Kramer of Harvard University and a social responsibility expert, they shared the importance of establishing CSV in order to promote a healthy living and create an environment which is good not only for the business but also for the society.

 Mario Capanza
Chief, Food and Nutrition Research Institute

 Mark Kramer
Harvard University, Social Responsibility expert

Capanzana informed us that the diet of many Filipinos is deficient in essential nutrients such as energy, vitamin A, iron, and iodine - a deficiency usually caused by either a lack of knowledge of basic nutrition and/or poverty. And in order to achieve this, he gave these three solutions: 1) aim to produce approximately 251 metric tons per day of complementary food made from protein-rich ingredients; 2) invest in an adequate amount of manpower, machine, and materials to produce these food products; and 3) establish strategically located stations where the food products are distributed, prioritizing the areas that need them the most.

On the other hand, the CSV Forum’s main speaker, Mark Kramer, defined Creating Shared Value in this way: “Shared Value (in the context of business) means policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.”

In light with this problem, Capanza expressed his gratitude towards Nestle for being at the forefront in the promotion of good nutritional practices in the country through its various CSV efforts: primarily through the development of food products that are nutritionally beneficial to the public.

 John Miller
 President and CEO of Nestle Philippines Inc. (NPI)

Mr. Kramer also stressed that Nestlé is gaining competitive advantage by increasing nutrition and decreasing unhealthy ingredients in thousands of food products each year – aiming for 40% reductions in fat, salt and sugar while maintaining taste preferences over competing items by at least 60% of customers. He also said that Nestlé has specialized nutritional products for populations at different ages and with different incomes.

As a conclusion, Capanzana said that government and food companies should work together to achieve shared value with communities: government identifies areas where nutritional needs are most urgent, while both government and companies can work together to produce fortified foods and ensure their distribution, availability and accessibility. In this way, communities reap benefits of good health and proper nutrition, while corporations gain profits and competitive advantage.

At this stage of growth we should always put in mind that health is wealth. Thank God that there are certain groups, agencies and private companies, like Nestle and Food and Nutrition Research Institute that care so much about the health and lives of their coutrymen.

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