With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
Thursday, Oct. 16, is World Food Day -- an annual day of action against hunger. Commemorating the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on Oct. 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada, WFD asks people to come together in their commitment to eradicate hunger in their lifetimes.
An estimated 805 million people, one in nine worldwide, live with chronic hunger -- a startling statistic that underscores the importance of action on the issue. While spreading awareness on World Food Day is great, it takes year-round action to secure real change. With that in mind, this week we're tipping our hats to eight companies that are working to eliminate hunger worldwide.
The chain is also famous for its Panera Cares Community Cafes, nonprofit locations that provide hot meals to anyone -- whether they can afford to pay or not. The cafes – operated by the Panera Bread Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity – are "meant to raise the level of awareness about food insecurity in this country, while also being a catalyst for change in our communities," the company said.
The program also allows the company to divert 11 million pounds of food -- which may have passed internal sell-by dates but is still wholesome and perfectly fit for human consumption -- from landfills each year, a key component to achieving the company's goal to one day send zero waste to landfills.
In the U.S., Kellogg partners with hunger relief agencies, primarily Feeding America, to donate its products to those who need it most. Through the Feeding America partnership, Kellogg has donated more than 200 million pounds of food in the past decade alone -- and has helped provide more than 221 million meals through food and fund donation since 1983.
The program has raised more than $185 million in cash and food donations and provided nearly 750 million nutritious meals for hungry families. The effort spans 130 countries and leverages 40,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants and 1.5 million employees around the world, the company said.
Together with Feeding America, Morgan Stanley’s efforts will provide more than 10 million meals and 50 million servings of fresh produce for children. Morgan Stanley employees play a critical role in the partnership, Feeding America says, by delivering strategic planning advice, research assistance, executive counseling and hands-on volunteer engagement nationwide.
Last year, Cisco employees worked 44,000 volunteer hours at hunger relief and nutrition nonprofits. With the company tripling all donations made by employees and other donors, the campaign raised $5.7 million for charitable organizations last year -- enough to provide 23 million meals to hungry people around the world.
Through the program, Walmart donated more than 571 million pounds of food – the equivalent of 369 million meals – in 2013 alone. Hunger relief efforts have also been one of the company's most popular employee volunteering platforms, with 4,100 employees volunteering more than 13,000 hours toward hunger relief efforts in 2013.
Of course, there are many more companies that are hard at work on this critical issue. If you know of a company or organization that deserves recognition but isn't included on this list, please tell us about it in the comments section!
Image credit: Panera Bread
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a senior editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and the Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.