Elanco focuses on enriching lives through food and pet companionship. We aim to transform animal agriculture and provide trusted solutions for animal production, herd management, and pet medicines. We focus our corporate responsibility work where we have the deepest expertise and interest—animal health and animal production—and can therefore have the greatest impact. One key area for us is fighting world hunger.
A growing wave of food insecurity threatens more than 1 billion people around the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. With food costs on the rise, and the world’s population continuing to increase, more and more families are living in poverty. Today, one out of every six people on the planet goes hungry. And more than 25,000 people die each day from hunger and malnutrition.
The United Nations projects that world population will jump from about 7 billion people today to 9 billion by 2050. This rise in population, coupled with increasing affluence and other factors, is expected to increase the demand for food by 100 percent over the next 40 years.
At Elanco, we’re looking for ways to improve food production to help meet these demands. Indeed, we believe our industry has a moral obligation to provide the world with safe, healthy, and affordable food. To help us in our efforts, we’re partnering with organizations that are tackling poverty and hunger issues in developing countries and in our home communities in the United States.
Our vision on hunger is twofold. We have committed to end hunger for 100,000 families—or 600,000 individuals—globally by 2025 through a partnership with Heifer International, a nonprofit that provides gifts of livestock and husbandry training to help families improve their daily nutritional intake and generate income in sustainable ways. We are contributing several million dollars in the next two years to begin this effort and will continually assess the funding to reach our goal of hunger relief in emerging economies. At the same time, we’re working in our own backyard to help create a hunger-free community for children in Indianapolis by 2015.
Our partnership with Heifer began in 2009 in the Lampung province of Indonesia, where a five-year project is providing 2,100 families with cattle, ducks, plants, and trees. In 2010, we expanded our focus to the Copper Belt region of Zambia, where we will ultimately assist some 6,210 families. In addition to the gifts of animals, Elanco and Heifer are working jointly to establish local milk market outlets, improve production and conservation practices, and train animal health workers.
In 2011, we announced our third project—this one in the Hebei province of China, where more than 20 million families live on less than one U.S. dollar a day. In Hebei, Elanco and Heifer will deliver the gifts of livestock and hands-on training to 800 families. Elanco employees have also been inspired by the hunger cause, donating approximately $200,000 (including a Lilly Foundation match) to Heifer International in just two years.
Fighting Hunger in Indianapolis
We’re also working to ease problems of hunger in our home state of Indiana. Our hope is that the work we do in Indianapolis will establish a model that we can mirror in other cities where we have operations.
We recently donated the time of a full-time senior staff person to help coordinate the Childhood Hunger Initiative, a public/private partnership that is creating greater awareness of summer food programs for children and is expanding a weekend “food backsack” program. Four out of every five children in the Indianapolis public schools rely on free or reduced meals at schools. These same children, however, often go hungry on the weekends and in the summer when school is not in session.
In the summer of 2011, we donated $17,500 to spread the word about the Indianapolis summer meals program, which offered free meals to any local child or teen under the age of 18. The weekend backsack program, available during the school year, sends children home for the weekend with six child-friendly meals, such as oatmeal or pasta.