Nestlé responds to coronavirus outbreak with Red Cross joint initiative

The Nestlé group has intensified its response to the coronavirus outbreak with a joint initiative with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) organisation.

In a statement responding to the global pandemic, the company, which produces a number of established confectionery brands including KitKat, said it ‘cared deeply for the communities in which it operate’ and believed that it had an essential role to play in combatting the situation.

As part of its measure, the company has pledged CHF 10 million towards international aid in helping communities around the world cope with coronavirus.

The company said: “Food and beverages help keep people healthy and enhance their quality of life. We care about our responsibility to provide good nutrition, especially for the most vulnerable in society – children, the elderly and those struggling with illness.

“We would like to assure our customers and consumers that we will continue to produce and deliver products to meet global demand. Our people are fully committed and are working tirelessly to ensure that supply is maintained. We are working very hard to keep them healthy and safe.”

Outlining its actions, the business said it had implemented enhanced safety measures at all its sites, with particular focus on our frontline workers in Nestlé factories, quality labs and distribution centres. It is also offering free meals and transport for staff to help reduce the risk they fall ill.

In addition, the business said it had put in place sick leave arrangements for those who contract the virus and will provide cash loans or advances for those in financial distress. All hourly and salaried staff affected by temporary stoppages will be paid in full for a minimum of twelve weeks.

The statement continued: “Since the very beginning of this crisis, our people have led substantial local relief efforts in the communities around the globe where we operate. We have provided support to charities, medical institutions and other organizations in the frontline of the fight against this pandemic. We have worked very closely with physicians to develop new tailored COVID-19 medical nutrition and supplement treatment protocols. We have also donated to food banks and food delivery organizations to support people in need. And we are providing prompt and pragmatic support to our business partners, for example in our supply chains, who are affected by this crisis. Our efforts are continuing – and stepping up – around the world.”

The company confirmed its joint response with the Red Cross (IFRC) in response to its emergency appeal, noting its common roots in Switzerland and shared values. Nestle pledged to donate donate food, medical nutrition products and bottled water to bring relief to those most affected by the pandemic.

Furthermore, the company said it would place all possible logistics services at the disposal of the Red Cross in a number of countries, and in addition to its funding, the company will match 1:1 any donations to the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies or Federation made by its employees.

Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé (pictured), said: “Now is the time to demonstrate the values of the Nestlé family. I am deeply impressed and humbled by what our team has accomplished in order to support individuals and communities affected by this crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global problem and consequently we are offering help on the ground everywhere, drawing on our extensive presence and experience in 187 countries.

“In addition, we give our full support to those who are fighting tirelessly against the spread of the virus, every day. This is where our trusted and longstanding partnership with the IFRC comes in. We applaud the relentless efforts of the millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and admire their determination to make a difference on the ground.”The Nestlé

In other key company news, the business has also reported significant progress in its efforts to help end deforestation and restore forests in its cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

The firm has published its Cocoa & Forests Initiative report, highlighting key milestones achieved. In 2017, Nestlé joined the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to contribute to ending deforestation. The partnership brings together the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with the cocoa and chocolate industry. In March 2019, Nestlé released a detailed plan to support these collective efforts and act in its Nestlé Cocoa Plan supply chain, which has been backed by a number of major manufacturers within the sector.

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