This report by Chatham House, and commissioned by Power of Nutrition, looks into "the hidden costs of malnutrition for business, and the extent to which these costs are recognised and addressed by multinational companies (MNCs)." It focuses on the direct costs of malnutrition in the adult workforce in terms of reduced productivity, but does not cover costs of impaired cognitive development and low educational attainment resulting from undernutrition in childhood, or indirect costs such as paid sick leave for malnutritionrelated illness. Given this is only a share of the economic impacts of malnutrition, the results are staggering: Businesses in ‘low- and middle-income’ countries collectively lose between $130 billion and $850 billion a year through malnutrition-related productivity reductions, equivalent to between 0.4 per cent and 2.9 per cent of those economies’ combined GDP.
This is an informative read for businesses to understand the cost of malnutrition for their own operations, and areas where they can do more to improve nutrition and diets. Policy and decision makers should also take note of the findings to provide incentives to businesses who taking action to improve nutrition.