As global food insecurity reaches all-time highs, Elanco seeks to be an example of how one company can impact this growing crisis. On Thursday, the company announced its commitment to end hunger for 100,000 families globally through a partnership with Heifer International.
Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, a leading global pharmaceutical corporation, is also dedicated to helping create a hunger-free community for children around its central Indiana headquarters. Elanco’s hunger initiative, with significant funding from the Lilly Foundation, is an extension of Lilly’s overall corporate responsibility efforts, which also include: improving the health of undeserved people, improving U.S. public education, supporting people and communities through United Way and similar efforts, and environmental stewardship.
“We believe every person is born with the right to a hopeful future, and the right to be fed,” said Jeff Simmons, Elanco president and Senior Vice President of Eli Lilly and Company. “But today, 1 in 6 people globally are hungry. More than 25,000 people die each day from hunger and malnutrition. That’s like 60 fully loaded jumbo jets crashing each and every day.” As the population grows toward 9 billion at mid-century, the problem of hunger could grow staggeringly.
Through Elanco’s partnership with Heifer, they will identify small communities in emerging countries that could substantially benefit from the gift of an animal, as well as training in animal husbandry, health care and other practices. Heifer’s sustainable model is built on recipients “Passing of the Gift” of their animal’s first female offspring to other community members.
Already, Elanco and Heifer have begun work in two communities. Elanco’s first project with Heifer began in 2009 in the Lampung province of Indonesia. The five-year project will provide 2,100 families with cattle, ducks, plants and trees. Elanco’s 2010 project focused on the Copper Belt region of Zambia and will ultimately assist 6,210 families. In addition to the gifts of animals, Elanco and Heifer are working jointly to establish local milk market outlets, improve production and conservation practices and train animal health workers.
“This partnership involves more than just Elanco the company. It’s about the employees, too, and customers, the company’s entire network, working with us and with smallholder farmers to help them transform their own lives and futures,” said Pierre Ferrari, Heifer’s CEO. “We are all responsible for solving hunger, and working together. With our proven holistic model and Elanco’s clear passion for farmers and animals, we are showing that we can do this.”
On Thursday, Elanco announced its third community in the Hebei province of China, where more than 20 million families live on less than US $1 a day. Emerging economies like China aren’t able to deliver the animal protein demands of their consumers. China has a goal of tripling the daily milk intake of their citizens, which will still be less than half of an American’s daily intake. Elanco and Heifer will deliver the gifts of livestock and training to 800 families.
Elanco employees have also been inspired by the hunger cause, donating approximately $200,000 (including a Lilly Foundation match for U.S. employees) to Heifer International from their own pockets in just two years.
“As the #1 food animal productivity company globally, our hunger cause complements the work our products do to help farmers deliver a safe, affordable, abundant food supply,” Simmons said. “We believe efficiency-enhancing technology in food production is one of the most important ingredients to feeding a growing global population. As companies and citizens, we have a moral obligation to help meet this need.”
At the local level, Elanco is helping form the Childhood Hunger Initiative, including donating a full-time senior staff person to help coordinate the effort. The initiative includes creating greater awareness for a summer feeding program and expanding a weekend food backsack program.
To join the dialogue about how to sustainably feed a growing global population, visit www.plentytothinkabout.org. A copy of Jeff Simmons’ white paper, “Making Safe, Affordable, Abundant Food a Global Reality” is also available on the site.
Source: Elanco Animal Health