Three years after being a private sector signatory to the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, Cargill has achieved its pledge to strengthen its commitment to employee nutrition and wellness.
The Compact brought together governments, civil society and business to establish the ambitious goal to save at least 1.7 million children under five and reach at least 500 million pregnant women and children under two with effective nutrition interventions by 2020, as well as prevent at least 20 million children from suffering permanent effects of malnourishment. It was endorsed by 90 stakeholders, including governments, businesses, scientific groups and civil society organizations.
As part of its commitment, Cargill pledged to recognize the importance of employee nutrition for a productive and healthy workforce in its global policies and to improve policies for maternal health, including support for breastfeeding mothers.
"The goal of the Compact was to combine the efforts of the business and scientific communities with those of governments to prevent malnutrition, which holds back prosperity worldwide," said Kathy Fortmann, president of Cargill Business Services, who attended the Nutrition Summit in 2013 where the Compact was endorsed.
"It is exciting to see the innovative activities being implemented in Cargill locations around the world and I hope that beyond us meeting our initial pledge, we can continue to see more locations and employees get involved in their own nutrition and wellness initiatives."
Here are just a few highlights of the work Cargill has accomplished to date:
Over the last three years, Cargill has increased its support for breastfeeding mothers in its workforce in Central America, including establishing lactation rooms at plants and offices.
"If I didn't have the opportunity to use a lactation room, I would have probably had to stop earlier than I had planned in the breastfeeding of my child," said Sofia Ceron Rosales, a production planner at Cargill's poultry plant in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Cargill implemented an education program for employees and their families that included producing a video about good nutrition, taking into consideration local food, cultural context and ingredients that most households use. The video has been an effective tool to provide easy access to nutrition information for all 2,700 employees in India.
The Cargill Starches & Sweeteners team in Manchester developed a program to engage employees and raise awareness of work-life balance by empowering them to lead healthier and more active lives. This includes providing fruit bowls for meetings, a global walk challenge and on-site nutrition and health services. The team was recognized for its program by the British Food and Drink Federation.
Cargill has a well-established employee wellness and nutrition program in Indonesia, which includes provision of health clinics at its palm plantations and school meals programs.
On National Nutrition Day, a breakfast of toast and milk was distributed to more than 1,100 elementary school students at Cargill's PT Hindoli plantation.
Dr. Meryah, PT Hindoli's company doctor, explained the benefits of starting the day with a healthy meal: "Children expend a lot of energy during their growing years as they have a high metabolic rate. They need to consume the right type of food during these years. A slice of bread and a glass of milk for breakfast provides the necessary carbohydrates, vitamins B and D, iron, fiber and calcium for their growth."
Cargill's site in Efremov has more than 1,000 employees, many of whom are actively engaged in local community initiatives that have a strong focus on nutrition. This includes classes for local school children to learn cooking skills. About 240 employees have also participated in the course. Additionally, twice a year food safety experts provide training to all employees at the site. This allows employees to take what they've learned back to their homes and share it with their families.
More than 400 employees in Brazil have participated in a volunteer initiative that has adopted a "train-the-trainer" approach. As part of this program, employee volunteers are given the necessary training to teach people from the local community about good nutrition and healthy lifestyles. It includes workshops on a well-balanced diet, how to plant vegetables at home and how to cook simple, healthy meals. The result is improved nutrition in our communities as well as within employees' own homes.
Published December 5, 2016