The Access to Nutrition Index was designed through an extensive, multi-stakeholder consultative process. This was done to ensure that the Index would be a useful tool for different stakeholder groups and that it would reflect the latest thinking and practices related to the private sector’s role in nutrition. Input from a wide range of stakeholders has informed every step of Index design, beginning with an early feasibility assessment and extending through development of the methodology used to assess food and beverage manufacturers and creation of the strategic plan for the future direction of the Index. In addition, the ATNI team reviewed a range of other indexes, rankings, and rating systems, such as the Access to Medicine Index, to understand best practices and build on lessons learned. ATNI’s design benefitted greatly from the experience of these other initiatives.
Phase 1: Feasibility Assessment
Index development began in mid-2009 with a first phase of work to assess whether an index would be a useful tool to encourage companies to increase consumers’ access to more nutritious foods and beverages. In this phase, a wide variety of stakeholders in high and lower income countries were consulted. A total of six group consultations were held from September to November 2009 in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa to ensure input from a diversity of viewpoints. These were supplemented by a series of individual conversations with representatives of key stakeholder groups. Participants in these consultations included food and beverage companies, civil society groups, investors, company analysts, nutrition scientists, and policymakers, among others.
On the whole, the stakeholders consulted were receptive to the idea of an index, and they provided essential insights into challenges and opportunities in rating companies on their nutrition practices. These consultations also provided early indications of how different stakeholders might use an index.
Phase 2: Index Design
Intensive stakeholder engagement continued throughout the next phase of work, which focused on the design of the Access to Nutrition Index. Two formal multi-stakeholder bodies (the Expert Group and the Independent Advisory Panel) provided advice on all aspects of Index development over a period of two years.
Multiple other engagements with a range of stakeholders provided additional input into Index design. For instance, a global network of stakeholders beyond the two formal advisory bodies described above played a key role in the development of the company assessment methodology. In addition, the ATNI team has presented at a variety of meetings and conferences attended by a range of stakeholders throughout the Index development process. Comments, questions, and input from attendees at these presentations have informed the Index development process.