Powered by Workforce Nutrition: Achieving ESG Objectives and Employee Wellbeing

Mirjam Kneepkens
Workforce Nutrition Alliance, GAIN
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The Workforce Nutrition Alliance, a joint initiative of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and  Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) was established in 2019, and has had an incredibly inspiring journey since. The reason for this initiative was crystal clear: one in three people globally suffers from at least one form of malnutrition, and at the same time the global working population spends at least a third of their adult lives at the workplace. Malnutrition does not only affect people on an individual level, but also affects businesses and economies. Combining these numbers, it only makes sense to improve nutrition through the workplace, creating a win-win situation for employers and employees.  

Over the past few years, many companies have joined the movement. Take it from Usha Kakaria-Cayaux, Chief Human Resources Officer at  Olam Food Ingredients, “At ofi we strongly believe that good nutrition is a key driver for both employee wellbeing and thriving businesses.” Or, if you’re looking for an interesting podcast during your commute, I’d highly recommend the Tasty Talk podcast series. In a recent episode, Michiel Bakker (Google) and Lawrence Haddad (GAIN) discuss what inspired Google to implement an ‘above and beyond’ workforce nutrition programme, and what their recommendations would be to others. 

The Workforce Nutrition Alliance continuously seeks to advocate for the topic globally, build the evidence and promote best practices. A recent review of the global evidence for workforce nutrition showed that comprehensive workforce nutrition programmes, as well as programmes targeting employees at higher risk for disease, are more likely to be effective on nutrition, health, and business outcomes. However, improved business outcomes are not the only reason for companies to get started on this topic. Integrating workforce nutrition into Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting on such indicators by the private sector augurs well for generating interest in potential social impact projects within the workforce. 

Finally, the Workforce Nutrition Alliance also offers practical tools and resources to guide employers towards impactful implementation. We can’t imagine a world without hybrid work anymore, so some guidance on how to approach workforce nutrition in this context couldn’t be missed. Spoiler alert : there are more similarities with traditional workforce nutrition programmes than you might think! For companies interested to get hands-on guidance on how to kick-off their workforce nutrition programme, the Workforce Nutrition Masterclass becomes increasingly popular. Dr Adeline Pretorius from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, participated in a previous cohort and comments: “The Masterclass was extremely helpful to plan and prioritise actions. Worksheets are well designed, practical, and helped to formulate achievable actions. Bouncing off ideas with other participants, inspired activities that could be adapted an implemented in our setting.”  The full interview can be found here

We hope to see you as a participant in the upcoming Masterclass from 21 September 2023. There are still a few spaces available, so save your spot by registering here!  As Sharon Bligh from the Consumer Goods Forum says: "Taking immediate action now and starting the workforce nutrition journey will help in achieving corporate ESG objectives. For me, human wellness and sustainability are intrinsically connected.” 


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