Nestle launches social responsibility initiatives

by Staff
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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestle S.A. is launching three social responsibility initiatives involving nutrition, health and wellness education for children, a research and development center in Africa, and an award to help encourage innovative approaches to solve problems of nutrition, water and rural development.

"The financial crisis that has resulted in the current deep recession revealed once more a basic business axiom — if you fail to work on behalf of the public interest and take shortcuts that place the public at risk, you will also fail your shareholders," said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman. "We believe that to have long-term business success you must simultaneously create value for shareholders and for the public."

Nestle intends to double the number of countries where it has nutrition and physical activity education projects by the end of 2011 through the Nestle Healthy Kids Global Program. This will increase the number of countries where Nestle has such offering to more than 100. The program primarily will be aimed at school age children and will focus on malnutrition and increasing obesity rates.

The company also is opening the Abidjan Research & Development Center in Cote d’Ivoire to help with rural development in Africa. The center’s programs will help increase agricultural productivity and safety of foods by developing and improving local crops and cereal-based products in the West African region.

Finally, Nestle is launching the Nestle Prize in Creating Shared Value, which will provide up to $461,000 to individuals, non-governmental organizations or small enterprises that offer innovative solutions to nutritional deficiencies, access to clean water or progress in rural development. The prize will be awarded every other year.

"Reducing water use, improving nutrition and helping rural communities grow in ways they want to develop are as essential to the company’s business strategy as they are to creating a healthier world," said Paul Bulcke, chief executive officer of Nestle. "These new initiatives will benefit the people we touch and are essential building blocks for Nestle to become the world’s recognized leading nutrition, health and wellness company."

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