Ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit in New York City, Upfield, the world’s leading producer of plant-based butters, margarines, creams and cheeses, has announced its commitment to enhance the livelihoods of 140,000 smallholder farmers and plant-based entrepreneurs. As part of this commitment, Upfield has become a signatory of the Zero Hunger Pledge, led by the Global Alliance for Improve Nutrition (GAIN). This coordinated private sector pledge aims to tackle the global hunger crisis which is unfortunately rising unabated with up to 811 million1 hungry people in the world in 2020 – that’s one in ten people suffering because they did not have access to a most basic need and fundamental right of food. COVID-19 health crisis has made the issue even worse.
As part of its pledge commitments, Upfield is investing in two projects in rural Kenya – focusing on the peanut and canola (rapeseed) supply chains. These projects support the ambition of the Zero Hunger Pledge; to eradicate world hunger by 2030.
Commenting on Upfield’s commitment to the Zero Hunger Pledge, David Haines, CEO Upfield Group said, “Transforming food systems is essential to achieve food security, improve nutrition and put healthy diets within reach of all. At Upfield, we believe that a collective shift to a more plant-based diet is the shift we need to achieve food system transformation and improve access to affordable nutritious foods. That’s why our newly launched ESG report addresses the areas where we believe we can make the biggest impact, at pace.”
Increasing the resilience of canola supply chains
Upfield is expanding its support for local Kenyan smallholders by helping them to grow canola as a rotational crop, which increases their incomes and improves the resilience of their supply chains. The project has grown from 500 farmers in 2015 to 7,500 farmers today and is still expanding. The project includes a training programme for farmers on climate-smart agriculture to secure their livelihoods amidst the challenge of global warming. Canola oil is a core ingredient in Upfield’s Blue Band™ spreads. Currently, 80% of the canola oil in Upfield’s Blue Band spreads in East Africa comes from this local
sourcing initiative, and Upfield has a goal to achieve 100% in 2023.
Supporting farmers to grow high-quality peanuts
Upfield supports NAFAKA, a Kenyan farmer co-operative, providing a new source of income in peanut growing and helping to supply the resources needed to successfully grow high-quality peanuts. In Kenya, a common problem with growing peanuts is Aflatoxins, which can damage peanut yields. Upfield is working to provide a discounted rate for the agricultural inputs needed to achieve aflatoxin-free supply chains and guarantees an income in peanut-sourcing for the smallholder farmers involved. The high-quality peanuts produced by NAFAKA Co-operative are to be used in Upfield’s Blue Band™ Peanut Butter product, which is popular in Kenya and other East African markets.
Both projects form part of Upfield’s broader ESG strategy, which outlines a suite of other initiatives and targets all designed to support the sustainable transition to ‘A Better Plant-Based Future’, with the aims of:
* Encouraging 1 billion people choose delicious plant-based products by committing to driving plant-based adoption through investment in purposeful brands, innovation, naturalness and category expansion.
* Positively impacting 200 million lives by providing healthier, more affordable and more accessible products that are equivalent, if not better than their dairy counterparts in both taste and performance.
* Enhancing 140,000 livelihoods and reaching 5 million chefs by committing to programs, grants and initiatives that will support them to drive towards a plant-based future.
* Achieving “Better than net zero” by 2050 and committing to 95% of our packaging being free from plastic by 2030, as well as responsibly sourcing 100% of our ingredients with no deforestation or exploitation.
You can read more about Upfield’s commitments at www.upfield.com/purpose