Robeco talks sugar foot print and reduction of child obesity as UN celebrates World Food Day

Rotterdam, 16 October 2019 – As the United Nations (UN) celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Robeco’s engagement team continues to work with companies on reducing the sugar footprint of their products to reduce childhood obesity and type two diabetes.

The UN World Food Day is celebrated annually around the world on 16th October, to mark the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, first established in 1945.

This year’s theme, “Healthy Diets. For a #zerohunger world” focuses on how globalisation, urbanisation and income growth have led to changing eating habits. Diets have shifted to being increasingly high in refined sugars, contributing to soaring obesity rates. Today, more than 670 million adults and 120 million children between the ages of 5 and 19 years are considered obese. At the same time over 820 million people are suffering from hunger.

Peter van der Werf, Engagement Specialist, at Robeco said: “There is a direct link between sugar intake, the risk of obesity and therefore the risk of diabetes. Our increased sugar consumption has led to an obesity epidemic, which is increasing the prevalence of diabetes, heart attacks and clogged arteries. We are of the opinion that many food producers and food retailers will need to adjust their business model and deliver healthier products to align their business with the Sustainable Development Goals on healthy nutrition.”

Robeco analyses companies and collaborates with other investors through its collaborative engagement activities and initiatives such as the action nutrition index, considering how society can solve the global obesity crisis and the impacts this will have for companies operating in the food and beverage industry. We engage with companies to reduce the total volume of added sugar in their product portfolios, believing that if they adopt a product portfolio that is well placed to thrive in a low-sugar economy, these companies will develop a superior business model compared to those that remain solely focused on their legacy products.”

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