DC Launch of 2016 Access to Nutrition Index

Last week, the Access to Nutrition Foundation Executive Director Inge Kauer presented the most recent Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) for 2016 at the InterAction office in Washington, DC.

The Access to Nutrition Foundation is an independent nonprofit based in the Netherlands, with the objective of assessing and contributing to the improvement of the private sector’s methods of providing global nutrition. ATNI’s founding principle is centered on the fact that the world’s leading food and beverage companies can play a leading role in improving poor nutrition and related diseases. By examining the companies’ practices, governance structure, marketing, and commitments, ATNI assigns an index number to the major food and beverage companies, providing them with an incentive to improve before the next index is released.

The first Access to Nutrition Index was released in 2013, as a tool major companies can use to benchmark their nutrition practices progress. Overall, 22 of the top companies were assessed to determine their levels of social, commercial and financial responsibility within their industry.

According to this year’s index, one in three people in the world are undernourished or overweight. Over the course of the next ten years, nutrition issues are projected to significantly increase. Obesity and diet-related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers are at epidemic rates, affecting countries of all income levels. Recent years has shown a positive trend in corporations’ interest in engaging better with their consumers, who demand healthier products and higher levels of accountability.

The 2016 Index has additionally included a pilot study, ranking all the leading producers of breastmilk substitutes (BMS). This addition to the index addresses a controversial issue in on the nutrition agenda. ATNI’s intention was to create a transparent and accountable way to measure how corporations contribute to child rearing in developing countries. Companies were assessed based on alignment with the 1981 International Code of Marketing and of Breast-milk Substitutes.

Corporations were measured for the index based on seven indicators:

  1. Governance (12.5%) – corporate strategy, governance and management
  2. Products (25%) – formulation of appropriate products
  3. Accessibility (20%) – delivering affordable, available products
  4. Marketing (20%) – responsible marketing policies, compliance and spending
  5. Lifestyles (2.5%) – support for healthy diets and active lifestyles
  6. Labeling (15%) – informative labeling and appropriate use of health and nutrition claims
  7. Engagement (5%) – engagement with governments, policymakers and stakeholders

Based on the 2016 Index, Unilever scored highest for the ATNI overall ranking. ATNI commended Unilever for successfully integrating nutrition strategy into their core business model, with a specific emphasis on undernutrition. According to the Index, Unilever dedicated its future strategy towards a healthier profiling system, with a comprehensive response to undernutrition.

Other top performers included Nestlé, Danone, Mondelez, and Mars. The main conclusions of the 2016 Index were that progress has been made, but these large food and beverage corporations are slow to change their role in the fight for better global nutrition.

ATNIchart

Nestlé topped the BMS Index, but ATNI found that none of the four F&B companies and the two pharmaceutical companies included in the BMS Index were fully compliant with the International Code of Marketing Breast-milk Substitutes (The Code) or the many World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions reinforcing The Code. As recommendations, ATNI encourages all companies to overhaul their marketing systems, except when forbidden by national laws. In independent case studies conducted by Westat in Vietnam and Indonesia, many instances of non-compliance were revealed, offering much room for improvement.

ATNIBMSATNI has now reached global recognition for their work as the first index to benchmark companies to facilitate growth and improvement. Since the first index in 2013, companies have increased their engagement with the research process, which highlights a positive trend towards improved policies and procedures.

Full details of the companies’ performances can be found on individual scorecards at accesstonutrition.org.

IFPRI and Partners Release 2015 Global Hunger Index

IFPRI

According to the 2015 Global Hunger Index (GHI), a joint publication by IFPRI, Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhilfe, significant progress has been made in decreasing levels of global hunger. The 2015 GHI for the developing world fell 27 percent from the 2000 GHI. However, the levels of hunger in the world are still unacceptably high, with 795 million people going hungry, one in four children affected by stunting, and 9 percent of children are affected by wasting.

For the last ten years, IFPRI has calculated the GHI in order to chart progress over time and country by country. This is the tenth year that IFPRI has calculated the GHI, with an interactive map showing where hunger levels are most dire.

More than 13 million people were uprooted due to violence in 2014. Conflict has forced 42,500 people per day to flee their homes. More than 40 countries have been affected by internal conflict since 2000, most dealing with multiple civil wars within the last decade. These conflicts deeply affect human welfare, trapping citizens in a cycle of poverty. Countries suffering from repeated and protracted conflict are more likely to experience higher levels of malnutrition, reduced access to education, and higher infant mortality rates than a more stable country.

It is unsurprising that the first two of the three countries with the highest index numbers – the Central African Republic, Chad, and Zambia – are experiencing persistent violent conflict and instability. Due to insufficient data, indexes could not be created for some of the world’s most dire situations, such as Libya, Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia.

Conflicts in areas such as Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan have presented complex situations with a shifting nature to the conflict that make peace settlements challenging. This year’s report has drawn a direct linkage between regions where poverty is most severe and persistent and armed conflict. In order to properly address the implementation of this year’s UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community must find durable and long-lasting solutions to conflict in order eliminate food insecurity.

Below is a chart of index numbers from The Hunger Project’s program countries.

Country 1990 1995 2000 2005 2015
Benin 46.1 42.6 38.2 33.3 21.8
Burkina Faso 53.0 46.1 48.4 49.6 31.8
Ethiopia 71.1 67.3 58.6 48.5 33.9
Ghana 45.7 36.8 29.9 23.3 15.5
Malawi 58.9 55.9 45.3 39.1 27.3
Mozambique 64.5 63.2 49.2 42.4 32.5
Senegal 36.8 36.9 37.9 28.5 23.2
Uganda 39.8 40.9 39.3 32.2 27.6
Bangladesh 52.2 50.3 38.5 31.0 27.3
India 48.1 42.3 38.2 38.5 29.0
Mexico 16.8 16.9 10.8 8.9 7.3
Peru 30.7 25.0 20.9 18.8 9.1