Blog: Katy AskewNestle supports food security call

Katy Askew | 18 June 2012

Food security, the sustainability of global food production and the demands of feeding an expanding global population are issues at the fore for Nestle, the world's largest food manufacturer.

For the Swiss food giant, good business is good business. In order to drive long-term profitable growth the necessity of securing adequate supplies of agricultural commodities is self-evident. Likewise, for a company with a level of exposure to emerging markets that for the most part significantly outstrips its peers, the challenge of feeding rapidly expanding populations in the developing world is also an opportunity.

An understanding of this is at the heart of Nestle's strategy to "create shared value". It is not a spirit of philanthropy that prompts Nestle to aid the economic development of its farmer suppliers or the communities that it serves. Nestle views itself as the end beneficiary of such moves because an adequate supply base is a prerequisite for stable - or increasing - production levels while wealthier communities - or products tailored to meet the needs of poorer ones - will result in higher sales.

So, today's (18 June) news that Nestle has joined calls to accelerate food security at the G20 summit should perhaps come as little surprise.

The company has insisted that increased public and private sector investment to accelerate food security programmes worldwide is urgently needed.

Attending a meeting of the Business 20 (B20) Task Force on Food Security in Los Cabos, Mexico, Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke highlighted the need to "strengthen research for efficiently produced, healthy food" and improve availability of food at "affordable" prices.

To this end, big business is putting its money where its mouth is. The business sectors represented by the Task Force plan to invest an additional US$10-15bn in agriculture by 2030, Nestle revealed.

These investments will be designed to expand access to market for between three to five million smallholder farmers, while ensuring the sustainable use of resources.

The Task Force also stressed the need for governments' investment to help improve essential infrastructure and services, boost productivity and reduce waste.


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