Guidance note on financial contributions or contributions in-kind from food and beverage companies


In response to questions from Unicef country offices, this guidance note was prepared to give advice on accepting financial contributions or contributions in-kind (CIK) from food and beverage companies. Although specifically written for Unicef offices, the guidance recommendations are useful for any groups who have found it challenging to navigate the complexities of accepting donations during COVID-19. Below is an excerpt from the guidance note and the high-level recommendations. See the full guidance note for more details, including implementation guidance.

During the COVID19 emergency an impact-focused and a risk-informed approach to engagement with the food and beverage sector is a must. It is important to ensure that any possible financial contributions or CIK from the food and beverage sector adhere to UNICEF policies, are needs-based rather than donor-driven, guarantee adequate nutritional quality of the diet, and minimize reputational risk to the organizations involved. 

  • Do not engage in cause-related marketing on foods and beverages.
  • Foods and beverages high in saturated fats, sugar and/or salt should not be sought or accepted as CIK for distribution.
  • Other forms of market/consumer facing engagements with food and beverage companies (e.g. high visibility grant contributions, CIK for non-food items or services, joint activities) are highly sensitive and may undermine UNICEF’s current programming and credibility in maternal and child nutrition. Any possible engagements such as these should be strictly evaluated on a case-by-case basis, considering potential risks, the company portfolio and sales data.
  • In line with existing UNICEF policies, companies that manufacture BMS should continue to be excluded from any CIK, funding engagements or co-branded partnerships. Donations of breastmilk substitutes (BMS), complementary foods and feeding equipment, including bottles and teats, should not be sought or accepted for distribution. 
  • UNICEF should continue to advocate for access to nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable diets during the COVID19 and provide guidance to countries.
This resource is based on experience or opinion