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Nielsen Volunteers Continue to Fight Hunger and Food Waste through the Global Pandemic

5 minute read | November 2020

Despite the challenging environment of 2020, Nielsen’s employees were not ready to pause when it came to mobilizing for our 10th annual Hunger Action Month. But even with the physical restrictions associated with the pandemic, our teams across Nielsen united to fight hunger in our communities from September to October by volunteering for more than 800 hours. The efforts, which involved virtual events across 25 countries, resulted in the donation of an estimated 240,000 meals through fundraising, monetary support, food donations and other online programs. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a significantly adverse impact on global food systems, is causing acute hunger needs, became the driving reason for our resolute work on this year’s Hunger Action Month. Food access and insecurity continues to affect the most vulnerable in our communities, and we know that understanding the massive shifts happening in the food systems, supply chains and availability is crucial to helping solve these challenges. In addition, food waste remains one of the most detrimental factors for our environment, further amplifying the challenge of hunger, impacting marginalized communities the most. These factors inspired our volunteer teams around the world to move with more fervor and intent. 

“We’ve all seen images and heard stories of incredible human needs and suffering this year through the pandemic, in addition to multiple disasters and ongoing food insecurity,” said Andrea Bertels, Vice President, Global Responsibility and Sustainability. “In the face of their own personal challenges, I’m so inspired by our people and how they found creative and impactful ways to make a difference during Hunger Action Month.”

Added Yamini Dixit, Director, Global Responsibility & Sustainability and Nielsen’s climate justice program lead, “We see the intersectionality of environmental and social drivers as core to tackling global issues such as hunger and are building our grassroots movements to clearly understand this interdependency and encourage holistic solutions that keep us on our path to equity and justice.”

Nielsen’s Hunger Action Month 2020 efforts focused on ways to fight hunger from home, aligning with our In It Together virtual volunteering campaign, to emphasize how we can respond to our communities through this challenging time. Some of the ways we engaged included playing Free Rice online to support the World Food Programme and finding ways to build support systems for our communities, such as grocery delivery services for a high-risk neighbor or donating supplies and masks to students to help local families struggling to choose between food and other needs. The Nielsen Foundation also asked employees to share their feedback on GlobalGiving hunger-related projects to receive support, and Seeds and Skills for Women to Grow Vegetables and Provide meals for Syrian and Lebanese refugees will each receive a grant of $2,500 from the Foundation. 

Some of the other efforts included our Nielsen’s Lebanon office people coming together to raise funds to donate toward the Lebanese Food Bank, in response to the recent Beirut explosion. This effort raised 8,920,000 LBP (approximately USD 5,800), and the funds were used to support 40 families and 100 local farmers. To do its part, the Philippines office organized a virtual food festival, making more than 170 food packages and sandwiches that it distributed to local families facing malnourishment.

Nielsen’s Digital Panel Team also wanted to empower our panelists to join us in ways to support the most vulnerable in our communities. The team donated one meal to Feeding America for each active device within their panel between August 1 to August 30, resulting in a confirmed donation of 150,000 meals during Hunger Action Month.

To highlight the impact of food waste on food insecurity, Nielsen also identified responsible practices around food management at home. The “Use What You Have” challenge in collaboration with the Whole You wellness team further encouraged our volunteers to get creative and cook with ingredients that they already had on hand, and not purchase or consume products without clear intent. The Whole You donated $200 each toward multiple GlobalGiving projects selected by the challenge winners that focused on hunger and food waste reduction. In connection with World Cleanup Day, which we rolled into Hunger Action Month this year, some employees went beyond food waste and focused their efforts on waste reduction and cleanup also. 

As this year of unprecedented moments, challenges and changes slowly draws to a close, Nielsen continues to focus on hunger and stay true to our citizenship commitments, unpaused and ready to support and serve our communities.