Global Index

India Spotlight Index

India Spotlight Index

E. Lifestyles findings

Key findings

  • Hindustan Unilever is the leading company with respect to supporting healthy diets and active lifestyles overall. The company demonstrates best-practice with respect to measuring the impact of both its consumer education, staff health and wellness programs.
  • Overall, Category E is a low-scoring category, with only three companies scoring above five out of ten – Hindustan Unilever, Nestlé India and PepsiCo India. While some companies seem to have implemented interesting initiatives, the industry as a whole will need to devote greater resources to delivering effective programs to support their employees and consumers to pursue active lifestyles and healthy diets, through independently designed and implemented programs.
  • The commitments of Indian subsidiaries of multinational companies with respect to staff health and wellness programs are generally in line with the parent company. The exception is Coca-Cola India; globally, the company’s parent sets broad objectives for employee participation in staff health and wellness programs. However, the Indian subsidiary does not set any targets in this area. 
  • In general, Indian-based companies do not report comprehensive health programs for staff. Only Britannia Industries, on request, reported that it offers the staff two of the three elements of ‘healthy diet, healthy body and healthy behavior’ in its employee health program. Mother Dairy offers only one element.
  • Nestlé India is the leader with respect to supporting breastfeeding mothers at work. The company has a formal policy that is publicly disclosed, which allows women to take six months or more of paid maternity leave. This is more than mandated by the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. However, it does not go beyond the new Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, introduced in August 2016, which extends maternity leave to 26 weeks.3 This new bill has not yet been enacted. Nestlé India also provides several facilities that support breastfeeding mothers – safe private rooms to express milk, fridges to store expressed breastmilk and flexible working hours or breaks. 
  • PepsiCo India, Nestlé India, Hindustan Unilever and Coca-Cola India have policies that commit to providing breastfeeding mothers with appropriate working conditions. Mother Dairy makes a commitment to support breastfeeding mothers at work but has no formal policy. 
  • In general, companies fare well with respect to demonstrating a commitment to funding/supporting consumer-oriented nutrition and undernutrition education programs. Seven out of ten companies assessed stated that they have a commitment to support nutrition education or healthy diet programs, and five of the companies assessed stated a commitment to support education programs for undernourished consumers. 
  • Mondelez India is the only company that commits to exclusively supporting programs developed and implemented by independent groups with relevant expertise, with respect to both nutrition education and active lifestyle programs, thereby demonstrating best practice among the India Spotlight Index companies.
  • Three of the ten companies – Nestlé India, PepsiCo India and Hindustan Unilever – evaluate consumer-oriented educational programs. While Nestlé India states that it evaluates the results of the programs itself, PepsiCo India and Hindustan Unilever hire third parties to do so, a leading practice.

Key recommendations

  • Indian-based companies are encouraged to develop commitments to support both staff and consumer-oriented healthy eating and lifestyle programs: Companies originating in India are encouraged to design systemic staff and consumeroriented health programs. Some Indian-based companies, like Britannia Industries, already demonstrates ad-hoc implementation of health programs for staff in their offices. Formalizing related commitments and implementing management systems to monitor progress would allow them to improve their overall score in this area. 
  • All companies are encouraged to adopt formal targets for Indian employee participation in well-being programs: Indian subsidiaries of multinational companies are encouraged to adopt a specifi c target for Indian employee participation in their companies’ health and wellness programs. Currently, only Nestlé India and Hindustan Unilever set a target for employee participation; both companies aim to reach 100% of their staff Indian-based companies can also view this as an opportunity for improving their commitments with respect to staff health and wellness programs. 
  • Companies originating in India are encouraged to go beyond legal compliance with respect to supporting breastfeeding mothers at work: Companies originating in India, that are compliant with the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, are encouraged to adopt commitments that go beyond legal compliance and thereby play a greater role in supporting breastfeeding mothers at work. Indian-based companies can, in particular, improve by formalizing a maternity leave policy that allows for paid leave of six months or more. The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 only allows for paid leave of six months or more for the first child, and less time for subsequent children. In this case, going beyond legal compliance with respect to maternity leave, and offering flexible working and necessary facilities would bring Indian-based companies in line with the performance of leading multinational companies – Nestlé India, Hindustan Unilever and PepsiCo India.
  • All companies are encouraged to demonstrate the impact of their staff health and wellness and consumer health programs: Demonstrating the impact of all health programs, whether staff or consumeroriented, is considered best practice. Evaluation of impact, especially by an independent evaluator, is essential to determining whether resources are being deployed in the most effective and efficient way and improving programs that fail to deliver the intended health outcomes.

Improving nutrition for all

The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.

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Funders

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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