Heerlen, NL, 17 Dec 2015 17:00 CET
Royal DSM, a global company active in health, nutrition and materials, and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger around the world, today signed an Agreement extending their existing partnership to combat hidden hunger and malnutrition in the developing world for three years (to 2018). DSM and WFP will seek to further increase the number of people who benefit from their work together as well as further improve the nutritional value of the food that the WFP distributes to its most vulnerable beneficiaries.
DSM’s public-private partnership with WFP, in place since 2007, has contributed to improving the diets of millions of beneficiaries, with a strong focus on young children as well as pregnant and nursing women, with essential vitamins, nutrients and fortified rice. In 2014 the partnership reached in total 25.1 million beneficiaries, including 6.1 million children in school feeding programs, thereby achieving the partnership’s goal of reaching more than 25 million people per year by 2015 ahead of schedule.
In addition to the focus on the first 1000 days of life (from conception until the second birthday), the focus has been on new large-scale fortification approaches that can reach large groups with improved nutrition. Rice fortification, for instance, is a staple consumed by billions. With DSM technology and products it can be a vital source of essential nutrients.
Globally, approximately 2 billion people suffer from the effects of micronutrient deficiencies. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies account for an estimated 7% of the global disease burden, while iron, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies rank among the top 10 leading causes of death due to disease in developing countries. The mental development in 40-60% of infants in the developing world is impaired due to nutrition insecurity and micronutrient deficiency. Micronutrients supplementation and fortification have been ranked as the top development investments by the Copenhagen Consensus: indeed, malnutrition can lower a nation’s GDP by at least 2-3%.
DSM provides scientific expertise, products and technical and financial assistance, helping WFP to improve food supplies and food quality through the addition of tailor-made, ready-to-use solutions that provide essential micronutrients. As well as with fortified rice, DSM has also helped WFP to improve the formula of its fortified blended foods. All at national, regional and global levels. In addition, DSM supports WFP in the development of a nutrition-focused course to be held at New York University.
DSM employees are actively involved with WFP, organizing and participating in events that create awareness around the issue of malnutrition, including fundraising. DSM employees also support various WFP projects with volunteer expert assignments in Zambia, Guatemala, Kenya and Bangladesh.
Feike Sijbesma, CEO and Chairman of the DSM Managing Board, commented: “Ending hunger and malnutrition is the next step in our civilization. Food fortification plays an important role. As the world’s largest producer of vitamins and other micronutrients we clearly take our responsibility to help eliminate hunger and malnutrition by providing know how and product solutions. Together, WFP and DSM help to advance insights on successful nutrition interventions, as part of the Scaling Up Nutrition network. Since our partnership with WFP started, in 2007, we have successfully scaled up our impact to reach to over 25 million beneficiaries a year. Now it is time to deepen our partnership by providing even better quality nutritional products while helping to prepare local economies to offer nutritionally rich products that are available, affordable and aspirational because in the end the best way to get out of poverty is through economic development.”
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme: “Investing in nutrition solutions for the world’s most vulnerable people is an essential element of the fight against global hunger. With DSM’s continued support, WFP is committed to providing the right food at the right time, especially for children in the first 1,000 days of life. When building the potential of future generations, there is no substitute for good nutrition.”
To enhance this vital partnership, DSM and WFP will continue to engage with governments and stakeholders and will encourage fundraising activities by DSM’s employees, based on the company’s core belief that business cannot succeed in a society that fails.
DSM has a track record in addressing malnutrition and has emerged as one of the industry leaders in this area, often consulted by United Nations agencies, governments, academia and NGOs. In addition to DSM’s partnership with WFP, the company also helps eliminating malnutrition through its long-running Sight and Life humanitarian program and the DSM Nutrition Improvement Program, a business program that provides technical and scientific support for supplementation programs and for the fortification of staple foods with essential vitamins and minerals in developing countries.