TOKYO, September 12, 2013 -Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (Ajinomoto Co.) has begun participation today in “Business Call to Action (BCtA)”, a public-private sector initiative hosted at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in an effort to improve the nutrition of mothers and children in Ghana.
BCtA is a global initiative that supports companies in the creation of innovative business models that achieve both commercial success and sustainable development. Ajinomoto Co. is the first company in Japan’s food products industry to participate in BCtA.
Since 2009, Ajinomoto Co. has been conducting a project in Ghana to increase the nutritional well-being of children during the weaning period. With participation in BCtA, Ajinomoto Co. will further accelerate and expand its efforts to improve the nutrition of mothers and children.
In recent years, the importance of improving nutrition in developing countries has gained recognition worldwide. In particular, because insufficient nutrition during the “first 1,000 days” from conception to two years of age has an irreversible and lifelong negative impact, public-private partnerships have made numerous efforts to improve nutrition of mothers and children during this period.
In 2009, on the centennial of its founding, Ajinomoto Co. began a project to improve the nutritional well-being of children in the weaning period (six to 24 months) in Ghana. The project is an attempt to improve the children’s nutrition by locally manufacturing and promoting the spread of KOKO Plus, a nutritional supplement to be added to a porridge made with fermented corn, called koko, which is the traditional weaning food for infants in Ghana. With support from organizations including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and wide-ranging collaboration with local partners such as the University of Ghana, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups. Ajinomoto Co. is currently conducting a study using prototype products to confirm the nutritional efficacy of KOKO Plus and carrying out trial sales to establish a distribution model, among other activities. The Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project is an initiative to establish a “social business” model that achieves nutritional improvement through business by deploying the expertise of Ajinomoto Co. in amino acid nutrition and food science, which is one of its strong points.
As a participant in BCtA, Ajinomoto Co. intends to further develop new initiatives for nutritional improvement, with plans to improve the nutrition of mothers in cooperation with Germany’s agency for international development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and DSM, a Netherlands-based life science company, and to improve the nutrition of schoolchildren in cooperation with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a non-profit organization. Through these initiatives, by 2017 Ajinomoto Co. aims to improve the nutritional status of 200,000 children in the weaning period, 100,000 pregnant or nursing mothers and 200,000 schoolchildren in Ghana.
On September 19, BCtA will hold the Annual Event as a side event of the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York. In addition to introducing the Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project at the event, Ajinomoto Co. is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion with representatives from WFP, DSM and others on initiatives to improve nutrition through social business.
◆ About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Inaugurated in 1966 (headquarters: New York) as a United Nations organization under the jurisdiction of the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The UNDP conducts various types of development support in 177 countries and regions in the four core areas of poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, and environment and energy for sustainable development.
◆ About Business Call to Action (BCtA)
A global initiative inaugurated in 2008 with participants consisting of corporations, government agencies and development support organizations that aims to achieve the MDGs through the core business activities of private sector companies. With a leadership platform of nine government agencies and development organizations including UNDP, BCtA supports the creation of business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. To date, approximately 70 companies in fields including agriculture, health, financial services, energy and education have participated in BCtA.
About Ajinomoto Co.
Ajinomoto Co. is a global manufacturer of high-quality seasonings, processed foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. For many decades Ajinomoto Co. has contributed to food culture and human health through wide-ranging application of amino acid technologies. Today, the company is becoming increasingly involved with solutions for improved food resources, human health and global sustainability. Founded in 1909 and now operating in 26 countries, Ajinomoto Co. had net sales of JPY 1,172.4 billion (USD 14.1 billion) in fiscal 2012. For more about Ajinomoto Co. (TYO: 2802), visit www.ajinomoto.com
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