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Big Food should be ESG’s next target

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in The Washington Post or enjoy below 

🗞️ Driving the news: In light of increasing worries over the health effects of ultra-processed food (UPF), some are challenging whether ESG points should be awarded to food companies selling potentially harmful products
• They propose health offset strategies, like "nutri-credits", mirroring current carbon and biodiversity credits that counteract environmental harm

🔭 The context: UPFs are associated with health risks including obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and strokes
• Despite these detrimental health impacts, major food corporations are still significant holdings in global portfolios, without enough attention paid to the health-related aspect of their social responsibility

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The detrimental health effects of UPFs have broad societal implications, straining healthcare systems, reducing productivity, and decreasing overall quality of life
• If ESG factors are to be a true reflection of a company's impact on society, health outcomes from product consumption should be a key consideration

⏭️ What's next: There's still a lack of consensus on how to measure and report on health impacts in the food industry
• Establishing a harmonized, evidence-based ESG-nutrition metric could be a step forward, but implementing it will require broad industry cooperation and likely regulatory intervention

💬 One quote: “We have started eating substances that can’t really even be called food: emulsifiers, low-calorie sweeteners, stabilizing gums, humectants, flavor compounds, dyes, color stabilizers, carbonating agents, firming agents and bulking and anti-bulking agents” (Dr. Chris van Tulleken, infectious diseases doctor)

📈 One stat: A 2021 report indicated that over 60% of Nestle SA's products do not meet a "recognized definition of health"

Click for more news covering the latest on ESG

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