Remarks of Donna J. Hrinak, Co‐Chair of the International Food & Beverage Alliance, Delivered at the United Nations High‐level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non‐communicable Diseases
19 September 2011
It is an honor to represent the International Food & Beverage Alliance – or IFBA. I want, first of all, to commend the United Nations for convening this meeting of world leaders. As someone who has been personally involved with the Caribbean since 1991, I want especially to congratulate the Caribbean community on a decade of work to call global attention to the urgent need to address the prevention and control of NCDs.
IFBA brings together ten global food and non-alcoholic beverage companies around a common goal of helping people around the world to achieve balanced diets and healthy, active lifestyles. Our members – The Coca-Cola Company, Ferrero, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, Mars, Nestlé, Unilever and my own company, PepsiCo, understand the important role we have in addressing NCDs.
We are pleased the Political Declaration adopted at this meeting recognizes the contribution our industry can make. In fact, three years ago, in 2008, our CEOs took the initiative in establishing five, public commitments to the World Health Organization in support of the 2004 Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.
These are the very actions that the Political Declaration calls on for our industry. And they are actions IFBA members have been delivering on a voluntary basis.
We have reformulated and developed more than 20,000 new products – with less fat, sugar or salt. We provide fact- based nutrition information to consumers. We restrict how and what we advertise to children. We encourage increased physical activity as reflected in workplace wellness programs for our 1.2 million employees around the world. And importantly, we report publically and annually on our progress.
For IFBA, the definition of voluntary includes transparency and accountability. For example, with regard to our global policy on marketing and advertising to children, third-party monitoring data from 2010 show a 96% compliance rate for television advertising. That marketing and advertising commitment for children applies around the world – everywhere IFBA does business. And through national pledge programs – currently covering 44 countries – regional and local companies joined IFBA to improve the types of products they advertise to children.
That is one of the ways IFBA is striving to increase its scope and influence. And in June of this past year, the Consumer Goods Forum, a collaboration between retailers and manufacturers, adopted the IFBA commitments on marketing and advertising to children and product information.
We recognize there is more to be done. But, we cannot do it alone. As the Political Declaration says – finding solutions to NCDs requires all of society. And that is why IFBA’s fifth commitment is to public-private partnerships as a cost-effective way to advance the objectives of the 2004 Global Strategy.
Experience has shown that in acting together we can make a difference. For example, as you will know Mr. Chair, thanks to collaboration between industry and the UK Food Standards Agency’s voluntary initiative on salt reduction, between 2003 and 2008, salt consumption was reduced by approximately 10% across the board and in some foods, the presence of salt was reduced by up to 70%.
Since its inception, the UN has worked with the private sector, and the Secretary-General has said the United Nations and business need each other. As member states turn to implementing the Political Declaration and mobilizing your societies on the ground, we hope you will look to the private sector as a willing and effective partner.