Opening the panel on this important issue, Gloria Steele, Chief Operating Officer of CARE USA, noted that hunger is happening on a global scale, driven by climate change, extreme weather, COVID-19, and armed conflict. More than 181 million people in 41 countries are currently suffering from food insecurity. Women play a huge role in the supply and provision of food, so CARE centers them in its approach. Amber Johnson, Global Vice President-Cocoa for Mars Wrigley, explained how her company helps women farmers in West Africa build impact through a holistic approach that places women at the core.
For Pilar Cruz, Chief Sustainability Officer at Cargill, Inc., supporting women is a way to live the company’s mission of nourishing the world safely, responsibly, and sustainably. More than 50% of the food produced in the world is by women, and more than 80% in developing markets alone. As one of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world, PepsiCo has committed to end-to-end transformation with sustainability and human capital at its core, said C.D. Glin, Vice President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Philanthropy at PepsiCo. That means women are an essential component of this transformation.
Moving to the idea of health, Geralyn Ritter, Head of External Affairs and ESG at Organon, explained why her company is focused on providing contraception to women and girls. One of the biggest drivers of inequity is the inability to remain in school or work, often caused by unplanned pregnancies. Access to contraception can help alleviate that burden by allowing women to decide when and if to have children.
Finishing up the discussion, the panelists agreed on the need to partner with governments for transformative change, bring to bear business capacities, and drive sustained change through policy, advocacy, and connectivity at the local level.
“We all know that women play a critical role in driving long-term sustainable change to support food security or the food system.”
Pilar Cruz, Chief Sustainability Officer, Cargill, Inc.
“We have to invest in women, but we don’t go about it alone. We are very much about collaboration and cooperation with others.”
C.D. Glin, Vice President, PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Philanthropy, PepsiCo
“We see societies being inclusive and, for us, at the core of that is women and empowering women and girls.”
Amber Johnson, Global Vice President-Cocoa, Mars Wrigley
“If women and girls can decide whether and when they are ready to start a family […] then families will be healthier.”
Geralyn Ritter, Head of External Affairs and ESG, Organon
“CARE centers women in all of its programs because of the important role they play in keeping healthier families.”
Gloria Steele, Chief Operating Officer, CARE USA