Private sector engagement for nutrition results

private sector engagement
© UNICEF/Karimova

Transforming food systems so that they can deliver sustainable healthy diets for all requires strong collaboration between all stakeholders, across different sectors. Private sector actors from farmers, including smallholders and family farmers/foresters/fishers to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and large companies, are instrumental in driving this transformation. Private sector entities not only produce food, but also provide services, such as product reformulation, food fortification with micronutrients, improved nutrition labeling, responsible marketing of food and beverages, and others, which are instrumental to prevent and eliminate malnutrition in all its forms. 

Small family farmers produce a third of the world’s food


74% of WHO Members States

have adopted legal measures to implement 
at least some provisions of the 
International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 


Consumption of high-sugar beverages decreased by 20-30%

following Chile’s food labeling and advertising law


At the same time, some private sector actors have carried and are still carrying out harmful practices.  Consequently, engaging with the private sector for nutrition results is essential but can be challenging for UN entities and Member States due to differing end goals, working cultures, expectations and understandings. 

UN-Nutrition’s niche

UN-Nutrition members share the common vision of a world without malnutrition, where everyone everywhere enjoys the right to adequate food. Multiple UN agencies have joined forces to review existing approaches to private sector engagement and progress towards cohesive, nutrition sensitive principles which guide private sector engagement to end malnutrition in all its forms. These efforts encompass: (1) the categorization of types/reasons of engagement​ with the private sector for nutrition; (2) the identification of criteria that define best engagement practices with concrete examples; and (3) the identification of risk assessment and due diligence processes, acknowledging the different reasons for and types of engagement.​ It is expected that the ensuing UN-Nutrition guidance will be also helpful for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement to identify and manage conflicts of interest.

Why we engage?


Business as an employer: We engage to improve workplace policies in support of good nutrition of women, infants and young children, and the workforce in general.​

Goods and services

Business is a provider of goods and services, including nutritious and not so nutritious foods. We engage to improve nutrient content and/or to supply nutrition-related services. ​

Communities and their food environments

Business impacts communities and their food environments. We engage to reduce negative impacts and increase positive ones. 

In-kind or financial support

Business is a potential provider of in-kind or financial support. We engage to mobilize resources in support of nutrition.

Technology and innovation

Business is a provider of technology and innovation that can be leveraged to improve nutrition. We engage to tap into this expertise and for knowledge transfer. 

Society with corporate responsibility

Business is a member of society with corporate responsibility. We engage to promote a positive influence on society.