At Food Vision in Cannes last week we brought Nestlé’s public health chief Dr Jorg Spieldenner together with Jane Badham, managing director of the JB Consultancy, which advises NGOs the world over to discuss the role of PPPs in improving global health and wellness via food and nutrition. The corridor was dark but the conversation was bright.
“I absolutely believe that it is critically important that we have public private partnerships because the reality is all consumers no matter where in the world engage with the private sector,” said Badham.
“Also there are a large number of strengths that the private sector bring to these partnerships. But the key thing around this is going to be the rules of engagement.”
Dr Spieldenner agreed, stating: “The public sector brings unmatched capacities – for example science and technology in food products, then translating it to the consumer knowledge – looking at it from a consumer angle not so much from a public health angle, and understanding the consumer very well in order to deliver the appropriate solution to him."
Win win win
“So yes I agree," he added. "Roles and responsibilities need to be made clear and then a fruitful relationship can happen. However it has to be something for the people, for the public but also for the private sector.”
Badham warned of potential backfires if private sector players “exploit the win”.
“That’s often where the trust level breaks down.”
It was for this reason clear rules of engagement needed to be established so NGOs and governments could take the chance to engage in PPPs.
Rules & responsibilities
Dr Spieldenner cited a successful anaemia-battling, iron boosting PPP in the Philippines where just such a set of rules had facilitated the programme’s success for all players.
Badham agreed that it was ‘win win win’ because the government public health goals were met, consumer health improved and Nestlé turned a profit.
Objective measurement of PPP performance was necessary and could be improved, especially where unintended negative impacts were involved such as unhealthier versions of a promoted brand gaining an unearned ‘back-promoted’ ride off the PPP campaign.
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