Announced at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, forty global companies have joined together to take global action against malnutrition. These companies are committed to reaching over 127 million women and children with improved nutrition every year by 2020. Additionally, the group has committed to targeting 99 members by 2015 – ranging from global multinationals to local companies in SUN member countries.
For the first time, the SUN Business Network has created a single business platform to improve nutrition, incorporating commitments made by 28 companies at the Nutrition for Growth Summit (June 2013) co-hosted by G8 President, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the Government of Brazil and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
The SUN Business Network, co-hosted by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), forms part of a multi-stakeholder partnership between business, UN agencies, civil society and donors. It will assist 46 countries that are facing high levels of poverty and malnutrition.
“No single organization, no single government can act alone to achieve the goal of ending hunger and global malnutrition,” said Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director. “Working together, we have the ability to establish powerful partnerships that change the global landscape, from one of hunger to one of hope, country-by-country, community-by-community, family-by-family and child-by-child; until no one goes hungry.”
While global companies form its initial backbone, the network aims to involve thousands of local and national companies. Marc Van Ameringen of GAIN said, “This week the SUN Business Network convened 70 stakeholders including 30 Tanzanian companies in Dar es Salaam to look at how they can work with government and civil society in support of Tanzania’s National Nutrition Strategy.” He added, “This type of engagement is going to be fundamental.”
The work of the SUN Business Network will be overseen by an Advisory Group made up of business and including civil society. It will operate under the aegis of the global lead group for SUN that was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
‘‘As an advisory group of private sector leaders we are committed to expanding membership to 99 global companies by 2015, with each member pledging transparent and accountable commitments to reducing malnutrition,” said Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM, and Co-chair of the Advisory Group of the SUN Business Network. “We aim to recruit globally, and include businesses from all sectors as malnutrition has a profound effect on economies. We look forward to reporting further progress as we continue to expand the network.”
The SUN Business Network aims to harness business expertise and apply its strengths and comparative advantages to improve nutrition. The Network works to advance opportunities for the business community to support efforts around agriculture, product development, infrastructure systems, distribution channels, or research and innovation.
“Under-nutrition is a global problem – and it must be a global priority, not only for governments and international partners who work to tackle it, but also for businesses,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director and Chair of the SUN Lead Group. “By contributing its expertise and resources, and by increasing the availability of fortified foods and other products, the private sector is not only doing the right thing, it is doing the practical thing, for helping children reach their full potential strengthens the work force, in turn supporting the long-term growth of nations and corporations alike. I am delighted that Feike Sijbesma will lead this new effort to leverage the power of the private sector to benefit children all over the world.”
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