Nestlé in collaboration with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) held its first Creating Shared Value (CSV) Forum in Zimbabwe on Wednesday the 14th May in Harare. About 200 delegates from Government, private sector, academia and civil society gathered at the Wild Geese Lodge to discuss issues around nutrition, water and rural development. Farmers, farmer groups and women associations also graced the event with their presence. The main theme of the conference was: Creating Shared Value, The Changing Role of Business in Society.
Hon M. Bimha, Minister of Industry and Commerce kicked off the day by calling for a multi-sectoral approach in order to create more impact for the Zimbabwean community. He further stated that the Government of Zimbabwe will support companies who invest in the country while creating value for society and the community. He added that the CSV concept should not only apply to business, but to Government and civil society as well.
Panelists included representatives of prominent organizations such as FAO, The World Bank, Universities of Zimbabwe and Pretoria, Institute of Water and Sanitation Development, and the Institute of Rural Technologies amongst others. Nestlé panelists included KK Katsande, Head of Nestlé Zimbabwe, Ian Donald, Head of Nestlé Equatorial African Region, PindelwaMda, Head of Nestlé Nutrition for Sub-Saharan Africa, and John Bee, CSV Communications Manager, Public Affairs, Nestlé S.A.
A key take out of the day’s proceedings was the need for an effective collaboration between Government, business and civil society. The time has come to convert existing policies into concrete action. The concept of CSV was well embraced by the audience, and all agree that it is a long term and self-sustaining concept that makes sense for both communities and business.
The panel on nutrition highlighted key issues that Zimbabwe is facing: child mortality, stunting, micro-nutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity, maternal mortality among others. FAO urged for urgent network formation in order to provide good nutrition to the more vulnerable members of society. The water panelists called upon all parties for a more responsible management of this precious resource. The panel on rural development focused on the crucial but neglected role of women in agriculture, and how the CSV model helps people to help themselves.
The Forum ended with a firm resolution that we should keep this debate alive. Specific discussion groups on nutrition, water and rural development will be created with clear objectives and actions, and we can all look forward to a second edition of this Forum to showcase the progress made in between the two Forums.