Kraft-Heinz expands corporate social responsibility commitments to hunger, sustainability & environment

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) on the left and Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees (right) joined about 100 participants at a meal-packaging event in Washington, D.C. Source: Kraft Heinz
Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) on the left and Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees (right) joined about 100 participants at a meal-packaging event in Washington, D.C. Source: Kraft Heinz

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Working alongside members of Congress, hunger relief organizations and industry trade groups to package meals for the hungry and food insecure, executives at Kraft Heinz are not wasting any time in fulfilling the company’s recently expanded corporate social responsibility commitment to help end global hunger and malnutrition. 

In Washington, DC, last week Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees and board vice chairman John Cahill teamed with Sens. Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow along with Reps. Rodney Davis, Danny Davis, Jim McGovern and Jim Costa and others to package more than 7,500 meals for distribution by the hunger relief organization Rise Against Hunger.

The event represents a solid start on Kraft Heinz’s international commitment announced the previous week that the food manufacturing giant would donate 1 billion nutritious meals to people in need by 2021.

The ambitious goal is part of an expanded three-part corporate social responsibility commitment that will focus on three areas which Kraft Heinz says it believes it can make the greatest impact: global hunger and malnutrition, supply chain sustainability and the environment.

Finding an end to hunger

A key element of the company’s commitment to help end hunger is the Kraft Heinz Micronutrient Campaign, which has been the company’s “signature philanthropic program for over 15 years,”​ Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs at Kraft Heinz Foods Co. said in a written statement emailed to FoodNavigator-USA.

He explained, “The Kraft Heinz Micronutrient Campaign supports children’s health and development through the production and donation of micronutrient powders” ​that are mixed into meals that are packaged by the company’s employees and their community members at events like the one held in Washington, DC, last week.

“Last year alone, our partnership with Rise Against Hunger engaged 300,000 global employees and volunteers and supported nearly 68 million meal donations for undernourished people,”​ Mullen said.

“This program, along with other initiatives in partnership with Feeding America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Red Cross, will be central to achieving our goal to donate 1 billion nutritious meals to people in need by 2021,”​ he added.

He also pointed to this effort as support that CSR “has been and will continue to be a consistent component of our long-term strategy,” ​and the company’s vision “to be the best food company, growing a better world.”

Supply chain sustainability

In addition to feeding the hungry, the company’s expanded CSR commitment includes “creating a more sustainable supply chain by establishing responsible farm-to-market ingredient and material-sourcing policies and practices,”​ according to the company.

A major component of this piece of the CSR will focus on procuring palm oil and derivatives that are 100% certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. As part of its traceability efforts in this area, the company also will prohibit the use of child and forced labor and protect existing forests and habitats, according to the company.

In addition, Kraft Heinz says it is committed to improved animal welfare, including following the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare and imposing a zero-tolerance policy for willful acts of animal abuse and neglect. It also is committing to using eggs from hens in cage-free or enriched environments and transition away from gestation stall housing for pregnant sows by 2025.

Minimizing environmental impact

The third prong of Kraft Heinz’s expanded CSR commitment is to decrease the company’s environmental footprint by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water and waste by 15% by 2020 from 2015.

Reflecting on these expansions, Mullen noted that the company expects its investments and impact to “grow exponentially as we work to deliver on the CSR goals and commitments we’ve set.”

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