The Kraft Heinz Co. announced this week its expanded commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) through sustainability targets.
The new CSR goals support the company’s vision “To Be the Best Food Company, Growing a Better World” and initially focus on three areas in which Kraft Heinz believes it can make the greatest impact: global hunger and malnutrition, supply chain sustainability and the environment.
While the commitments offer a snapshot of the company’s CSR approach, Kraft Heinz said it will publish its broader strategy later this year in tandem with its first CSR report.
“As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, we hold ourselves to a high standard for driving social and environmental change,” Kraft Heinz chief executive officer Bernardo Hees said. “Our global CSR initiatives focus on improving our planet, its people and the communities where we live and work and are critical components to our continued growth strategy.”
Global hunger and malnutrition
To make a sustainable difference in the fight to eliminate global hunger and malnutrition, Kraft Heinz will donate 1 billion nutritious meals to people in need by 2021 by working in collaboration with several nonprofit organizations, including its signature philanthropic partner, Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now), and other national partners like Feeding America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Red Cross.
“Together, we believe it’s possible to end global hunger in our lifetime,” Hees added.
Central to this goal is The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation’s signature program, the Kraft Heinz Micronutrient Campaign (KHMC). Launched in 2001, the KHMC supports children’s health and development by manufacturing and donating micronutrient powders – developed by Kraft Heinz food science and nutrition experts – that provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization that delivers food and aid to the world’s most vulnerable populations, became the exclusive micronutrient distribution partner of KHMC in 2013. Since then, Kraft Heinz has provided micronutrient powders to fortify more than 167 million hunger relief meals delivered to countries in need across the globe.
“We are profoundly grateful for our partnership with Kraft Heinz and are inspired by the company’s commitment to provide 1 billion meals to people in need, which is a reflection of their dedication to nourishing lives,” said Rod Brooks, CEO of Rise Against Hunger. “We commend their efforts to empower communities around the globe to end hunger.”
Supply chain sustainability
Kraft Heinz also committed to creating a more sustainable supply chain by establishing responsible farm-to-market ingredient and material sourcing policies and practices.
Kraft Heinz recognizes that poorly managed palm oil cultivation can have adverse environmental and social impacts, such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, forced and child labor and human trafficking. As such, the company’s new policy states that it will procure palm oil products in an ethical, transparent and sustainable manner and will only purchase palm oil and derivatives 100% certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Kraft Heinz is actively working with its global suppliers to achieve palm oil traceability, prohibit the use of child and forced labor and protect existing forests and habitats.
Kraft Heinz also made animal welfare commitments, with its new policy guided by the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, a set of core principles for animals under human care. This includes freedom from: hunger and thirst; discomfort due to the environment; pain, injury and disease; fear and distress, and the freedom to express most normal behaviors. In support of these Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, Kraft Heinz said it is requiring suppliers to have a zero-tolerance policy for willful acts of animal abuse and neglect.
The policy reinforces and introduces several supplier guidelines for humane sourcing, including commitments to use eggs only from hens living in cage-free and/or enriched environments and the transition away from traditional gestation stall housing for pregnant sows by 2025.
Regarding the environment, Kraft Heinz announced that it will decrease its environmental footprint 15% globally by 2020 (versus a 2015 baseline) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water use and waste in its operations. It noted that efforts are already underway to maximize efficient energy and water consumption and reduce or divert waste at each of the 86 company-owned manufacturing plants.
“Integrating sustainability across our entire business is a top priority,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs at Kraft Heinz. “We developed these goals based on input from consumers, customers, investors and employees, among others, and we look forward to a continued dialogue with all stakeholders about how we see our values coming to life in our business and our brands.”