The Power of Nutrition joined the Asia Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) at their 2019 Singapore conference as a Knowledge Partner. The four-day event, tellingly entitled ‘Breaking Boundaries’, brought together over 1,200 delegates from businesses, family offices, impact funds, governments, private equity, service providers and foundations, with one shared objective: to explore new and sustainable ways to collaborate and direct funds towards the social challenges in the region.
Through an active involvement with the AVPN team in the months preceding the conference, we were able to elevate nutrition to one of the key themes of the conference (alongside topics such as climate action, education and livelihoods). This was particularly significant in a region that currently bears the heaviest burden of malnutrition in absolute numbers, with 81.2 million children under five suffering from stunting, 33.8 million children under five wasted and anaemia and double burden prevalence worryingly on the rise.
The Power of Nutrition led two key sessions on the first day, with Martin Short taking the stage to advocate for increasing funding for nutrition and engagement of non-traditional donors such as the private sector.
Martin Short facilitated a Nutrition Lunch for a select number of delegates interested in funding nutrition. Attendees included delegates from numerous sectors and organisations, such as Kellogg’s, Royal DSM, BNP Paribas, Sesame Workshop, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sight and Life, Food Industry Asia, UBS, Amway Charity Foundation, and Path.
We also hosted a very well attended nutrition plenary session titled ‘Ending undernutrition through private sector engagement – from moral imperative to economic opportunity’. It opened with keynote speaker Ertharin Cousin – former Executive Director of WFP, and Board Member at The Power of Nutrition – delivering a vibrant talk highlighting the seriousness of the global status of nutrition and the need for collaborative action and for innovative mechanisms catalyzing new funding from non-traditional sources towards nutrition
The panel discussion which followed, moderated by our CEO Martin Short, focused on the impact of undernutrition on businesses and how private and public sectors can, and must, work together to explore and implement sustainable solutions.
To move the conversation outside the development sector and into the broader private sector space, the panel comprised of speakers with very different backgrounds; each of them brought their own experiences and expertise and discussed missed opportunities and lessons learnt. They included:
Recognising the importance of partnerships was the thread that linked each of the speakers’ experiences of working in nutrition and that brought the panel to life. Incentivising private capital investment towards nutrition translates a moral imperative into an economic opportunity that benefits not only the millions of mothers and children directly affected by undernutrition, but also the bottom line of businesses whose operations involve workers affected by undernutrition. Companies across all sectors hold huge, transformative power to save countless lives and transform their own financial prospects, ultimately having a positive effect on the overall economy of countries.
Watch the full Plenary video here.
The AVPN conference gave us the opportunity to announce a ground-breaking research project The Power of Nutrition is supporting, and which is being undertaken by Chatham House: ‘The Business Case for Nutrition’.
The research will explore how undernutrition impacts on business productivity and the bottom line; and it will demonstrate how addressing these offers a genuine investment opportunity that goes beyond the food industry.
This project’s uniqueness lies in its private sector focus as it will explore how investing in nutrition will create wider long-term benefits for employees, customers and other stakeholders.
The private sector is a reservoir of under-utilised expertise and experience but, to act, it needs more compelling evidence of the potential for targeted investments and strategies to promote better nutrition and create healthier, more productive workforces and consumers.
By generating this compelling evidence, this research will build on the current momentum for nutrition action and incentivise the private sector to act.
The research will be published around the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo in 2020.
“This ground-breaking piece of research will help move the nutrition dialogue outside the development space; it will demonstrate its universal and foundational quality. It’s time for a mindset shift: investing in nutrition is not only a moral imperative but an economic opportunity” – Martin Short.
We are committed to raising the profile of nutrition with governments, civil society organisations and investors.
To find out more about other key events where we advocated for the elevated prioritisation of nutrition, click here.