October 4, 2017

Building a Business-led Culture of Health and Food Security

Every day, businesses are providing innovative solutions to solve the world’s toughest challenges—among them—global health, wellness, and equitable and sustainable food systems.

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we believe improving health isn't just for health care companies and it isn't just about employee wellness. It’s about people—and how to make their lives healthier, happier, and more productive. Businesses know that to have economic growth and prosperity in their communities and around the world, they need new and revolutionary strategies to empower healthy employees, customers, and communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that employers lose around $1,700 in productivity per employee, per year, due to health problems. Across the country, this scales to more than $225 billion in lost productivity per year.

The impact of poor health doesn’t stop at the workplace. Over the past 16 years, the CDC has reported marked increases in many health factors that are based on behavior, culture, and community environment, including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. 

These poor health outcomes are growing as the United States cements its status as the country that spends the most on health care. Health care spending doubled over the past 16 years, to around $8,500 per person in 2015.   Yet, the U.S. is not seeing a great return on that massive investment, as it ranks in the middle of all nations for life expectancy; and consistently dropped since 1980 to be almost last among developed nations.

The private sector has the talent, vision, and influence to help reverse challenging health trends and create a culture of health in America and around the globe. It can do so by its connection to its employees and to its consumers and local communities. Companies have increasingly embraced their role in the culture of health.

We are delighted to release this case study report, highlighting the leadership of businesses working to improve health in their communities, across the country, and around the world. “Building a Business-led Culture of Health and Food Security” highlights a wide variety of work from the private sector that weaves together the issues of health, nutrition, and sustainable food systems. Stakeholders addressing poor health, obesity, and hunger have broadened their conversation to address all of the issues wrought by a food system that is not always accessible, available, or efficiently utilized. This case study helps contextualize that work in the wider focus of business-led initiatives and programming.

As you will learn in this report, companies of all sizes from across a variety of sectors and industries are bringing forward-thinking approaches to a complex set of health challenges. They are embedding these solutions within their core business models, helping them strengthen communities, protect the planet, accelerate innovation and improve their bottom line.

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we provide an environment to learn, share, network, and collaborate to drive progress and achieve healthier, more sustainable people, planets, and businesses. We hope you find new ideas and innovative solutions for improving health in your organization and your community.

In good health,

Elyse & Lawrence

Chapter 1: Workplace Wellness

Chapter 2: Nutrition Education

Chapter 3: Community Health and Partnerships

Chapter 4: Global Health

Chapter 5: Agriculture and Sustainability

Chapter 6: Technology