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Health & Wellbeing

The issues for responsible investors

Healthcare, one of our nine core positive pillars, was refreshed in 2017 as ‘Health & Wellbeing’. For the first time our concept of healthcare has expanded holistically to include nutrition, diet, wellbeing and sport as well as pharmaceuticals and med-tech. We are signatories to the Access to Nutrition Index, and this Expert Brief examines the results of the 2018 Index survey, and our wider view of ‘health & wellbeing’ from an investment perspective.

As responsible investors we invest in companies that have an impact (positive and negative) on global health. Our Health & Wellbeing pillar invests in sectors that save life, support healthy, active living and affordable, nutritious diets. However, food & beverage companies can also have a negative impact on health via foods high in sugar, salt and fats and which lack a range of balanced nutrients. 

Under our negative screens, the Amity Funds exclude from investment tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, both a major cause of premature death. World-wide, more than 1.1 billion people smoke with 7 million premature deaths recorded. Up to 900,000 premature deaths arise from ambient inhalation. 

Alcohol related harm is a component cause of more than 200 communicable diseases, including cirrhosis and cancer. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that world-wide, about 3.3 million premature deaths (5.9% of all deaths) were attributable to alcohol related harm.

The Access to Nutrition Index

The Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI), launched in 2013, is an investor tool that assesses the contribution global food and beverage companies are making in addressing global nutrition challenges. The Index is supported by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and receives financial support, among others, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS). ATNI is an independent not for profit foundation based in the Netherlands.

Since launch in 2013, over 50 global investors, including EdenTree, have joined in support of the Access to Nutrition Index Investor Statement, with approximately $5 trillion of assets under management. The Index reports its findings biennially.
The 2018 Index findings focus on a universe of 22 food and beverage companies which collectively operate in over 200 countries and generate in excess of $500 billion in sales. They were chosen for their global influence and impact on nutrition and wellbeing. Companies selected include Nestlé, Danone, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Mars, Mondelez, Kellogg, Arla and Kraft-Heinz.

What are the core findings?

The 2018 Index shows that the largest food and beverage companies are improving their efforts to promote healthy diets. The Index suggests the better performing companies have improved their commitment to affordability, marketing, labelling and product refreshment since 2016. Nevertheless, with the best performing company scoring just 6.8, ATNI expresses some concern that the pace of change is not fast enough.

Nine companies scored 5 or more compared to just 2 in 2016, with the average score overall rising from 2.5 to 3.3.

The Index finds that companies are responding positively to SDG2 with 11 committing to address under-nutrition; 12 high-light research and investment in under-nutrition whilst four indicate the use of bio-fortified staple foods or ingredients.

What is EdenTree doing?

Our Health & Wellbeing pillar puts nutrition at the heart of our approach to healthcare. We have long been committed to the sector with leading positions in many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and med-tech companies. Since 2017 this approach has been complemented via the inclusion of diet, nutrition and sport, providing holistic support for prevention as well as diagnosis and cure.

Where we invest in global food and beverage companies, we use the ATNI as an engagement tool to press for improved product governance; in emerging markets we engage to tackle malnutrition, stunted growth and premature death. Our positive screen can also act as a brake; companies that fail adequately to refresh their products or provide insufficiently nutritious options, high in fat, salt and sugar, may fail our positive screen and be avoided.

You can read the full SRI Expert Brieifing by clicking on the download button at the top of this page. 

EdenTree Investment Management Limited (EdenTree) Reg. No. 2519319. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ, UK. EdenTree is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is a member of the Investment Association.