Health News Round-Up (Issue 94)

July 30, 2007

Beyond big business

The next step for large companies with good HIV/AIDS programmes in place is to extend this to their suppliers and distribution companies according to a new report from the World Economic Forum Global Health Initiative.

Beyond Big Business: Are your suppliers and distributors ready to fight HIV/AIDS? aims to extend access to HIV/AIDS education and treatment to small and medium sized enterprises that supply and distribute goods for the larger multinationals. This is seen as taking the private sector response to HIV/AIDS to the next level and the report calls for multinational companies to “buddy” with SMEs along their supply chains to help them respond to the issues.

One of the companies implementing this initiative is Standard Chartered. The bank will run a series of workshops throughout Africa, which will educate SMEs on the business risks associated with the HIV/AIDS pandemic and will help them take action.

Contact World Economic Forum Global Health Initiative

Briefing comment

This announcement from the WEF Global Health Initiative should inspire all businesses to think about how they can better manage their social and environmental impacts through the supply chain. Too often, corporate responsibility in the supply chain is approached from a stance of risk management. This new initiative shows how companies can proactively manage relations with their suppliers, especially small and medium sized businesses.

Working with suppliers in this way will promote a better understanding of the impacts a company has across the supply chain. For example, Marks & Spencer recognises that the carbon footprint of its UK activities contributes around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere. However, it also knows that the emissions arising from production and manufacturing add a further 4 million tonnes of CO2. Only by working with suppliers can it hope to tackle this and have a much broader impact.

Those companies signing up to the WEF initiative acknowledge that – when it comes to social and environmental issues – all businesses face the same challenges. Making the knowledge, expertise and skills of large companies available to smaller suppliers is a hugely effective way of demonstrating a real commitment to corporate responsibility.

AIDS initiatives awarded

Eight leading businesses received recognition for their contributions in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria at this year’s Global Business Coalition Awards for Business Excellence, which took place on June 13 in New York.

Those acknowledged for their work with AIDS included Chevron (workplace); Coca-Cola China Beverages (community); Standard Chartered (core competency); Abbott and Abbott Fund (national action); Eskom Holdings (testing and counselling); and HBO (advocacy & leadership). Eli Lilly & Co. received the tuberculosis award and Marathon Oil Corporation was recognised for its work against malaria.

Contact Global Business Coalition

Flu donations

On June 13, GlaxoSmithKline committed to donate 50m doses of pre-pandemic influenza vaccine to the World Health Organisation. Further, Sanofi-Aventis SA has also said that it will donate a “significant” number of vaccines. The donations will create a stockpile of vaccines that the WHO can distribute to poorer countries at short notice in case of an outbreak. GSK’s donation, to be made over a three year period, will provide enough doses to protect 25m people.

Contact GSK; Sanofi-Aventis

Bodyform for Africa

The sanitary towel brand, Bodyform, and Action for Southern Africa, have established a partnership aimed at raising funds for women in Zimbabwe who cannot afford sanitary towels due to the country’s economic crisis.

A packet of sanitary towels in Zimbabwe costs more than half the average monthly wage. The campaign, Dignity! Period. is expected to prevent millions of women from suffering infections caused by a lack of basic sanitary necessities. It is estimated that inflation in Zimbabwe now stands at around 2,200 per cent.

Contact Bodyform; Action for Southern Africa 020 3263 2001