Role of business in achieving national public health goals discussed at SPIEF

The “Focus on a Healthy Lifestyle: Origin of Coordinates on the Path to National Goals” discussion was held on the first day of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 6. It was attended by the representatives of the ASI and member companies of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) including the Carlsberg Group. The panelists discussed consumer behavior trends, participation of businesses in the healthy lifestyle building agenda, the best practices and the interaction of businesses and government in this area. The event took place at the presentation area supported by EY and FIAC.

In 2019, Russia launched national projects, which set the country’s growth vector and are designed to speed up socio-economic development through increased investment and labor productivity. The “Healthcare” and “Demography” national projects are aimed at achieving the goals of increasing the life expectancy of the population. The “Strengthening of public health” federal project is part of the endeavor. Of particular importance is the implementation of public health programs ensuring safe working conditions, combating non-communicable diseases, promoting active longevity and a healthy lifestyle.

The Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) participate in the implementation of national projects through the introduction of best practices and technologies in all areas of socio-economic development. Alexander Pirozhenko, Deputy General Director, ASI, starting the panel discussion, said: “We will continue our work on collecting the best practices from Russian regions and municipalities in encouraging people in the country to maintain healthy lifestyle. There are a number of Russian Federation subjects, which has been implementing programs and solutions that promote healthy lifestyle for a long time. For example, in the Perm region, has been carried out the analysis of the micro- and macronutrient provision of the citizens. Recommendations were issued that products rich with corresponding macronutrients shall be used. Adding them to bread and milk is an long established international practice, which is tried for the first time in Russia”.

In order to achieve success complex approach and joint actions of different stakeholders are required. In this aspect cooperation of business and government opens additional opportunities.

“We say that there are incentives, there are measures that educate people about what is good and what is bad for health. And there are limiting measures. This is the most painful factor that concerns corporations in any country. We see that in recent years, the interest in healthy lifestyle is becoming a natural process that should be implemented together. By the society, the state, and businesses”, - continued Alexander Pirozhenko.

Anders Bering, Vice President Global Corporate Affairs, Carlsberg Group, spoke about how the public health agenda is integrated into the Group business strategy and about the company’s initiatives to reduce harmful use of alcohol, which is set as one of the objectives in the “Strengthening of public health” federal project.

“There are two strategic goals of the Carlsberg Group sustainability program related to securing health and maintaining the well-being of our employees and consumers: Zero Accidents and Zero Irresponsible Drinking. We strive to bring our initiatives in line with the national goals of different countries where the company operates, and we cooperate with a group of international experts who help in developing programs to reduce the risk factors associated with irresponsible drinking,” said Anders Bering.

“At the same time we support the growing consumer interest to healthy lifestyle and plan to ensure 100% availability of non-alcoholic beer by 2022, which popularity is growing across different countries, including Russia, - continued Mr Bering. - I am convinced that sustainability-focused business and the government interested in the well-being of the people and economic growth are moving in the same direction. Therefore, it is important that measures to achieve public health national goals are developed based on the "smart regulation" principles and the dialogue between the government and business. Such an approach will bring the best results for the society and the economy».

Baltika Breweries, part of the Carlsberg Group, accounts for more than 50% of the alcohol-free beer segment in Russia, the development of which is a strategically important business goal for the company. In 2019, Baltika expanded the number of production sites brewing non-alcoholic beers from 4 to 6. The total investment in the launch of two non-alcoholic lines in Yaroslavl and Novosibirsk amounted to 80 million rubles. The company has invested 1.15 billion rubles in equipment and marketing support for non-alcoholic beer over the past 10 years.

Alexey Grigoriev, Head of Moscow Representative Office, METRO AG, Director of Corporate Public Policy, METRO in Russia, said: “Small-sale trade industry plays a significant role as a partner of the government in promoting a healthy lifestyle. METRO has a unique opportunity to involve its suppliers as well as professional customers from hotel and restaurant business, small and medium retail in active collaboration. Together we can set high standards of quality, monitor standard compliance at all stages, promote healthy products and healthy lifestyle menu and, in general, provide consumers with access to a wide range of products for a balanced diet”.

Non-alcoholic beer perfectly fits a healthy lifestyle. For example, the “Baltika 0” brand has been sponsoring marathons in Russia for many years. In 2018, the company’s non-alcoholic beer was presented at 11 marathons and 1 cycling event.

On different markets Carlsberg Group companies already undertakes measures to tackle alcohol misuse, prevent consumption of alcohol by minors or drinking and driving. The Global Beer Responsibility Day is a joint initiative of the Carlsberg Group and other major beer producers and is annually marked in September across different countries. In Russia, together with the Russian Beer Union (RBU) Baltika Breweries hold the campaign which aim is to consolidate brewers, retailers and consumers in order to undertake joint efforts in preventing sales of alcohol to underage people. Only in 2018 our volunteers informed personnel of around 90,000 points of sale in more than 100 cities in Russia  about legislation and responsible sales rules.

Also, Baltika Breweries actively develops corporate programs that provide safe working conditions in order to reduce the number of accidents in the workplace and the level of non-communicable diseases. ZERO Accidents is the strategic goal of our sustainability program. In 2018, the сompany's investment in industrial safety and its employees healthcare in Russia amounted to more than 100 million rubles. In 2019, the “Caring about the Main Thing” program for employees was launched in Russia. The goal of the program is to ensure the physical and mental well-being of employees through building a healthy and inspiring work environment.


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