Teck Resources Limited and BASF SE have announced at the World Economic Forum that they have signed a three year agreement to jointly develop innovative and affordable zinc fortification and supplementation solutions, with the goal of reducing zinc deficiency among 100 million people in developing countries by 2015.
Malnutrition is one of the world’s most serious but least addressed health problems - nearly a third of children in developing countries are undernourished.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient for all living organisms that protects the body from illnesses and helps fight infections, yet two billion people around the world are not getting enough zinc through their diet.
According to the World Health Organization, zinc deficiency is one of the leading risk factors associated with diseases such as diarrhea, contributing to the deaths of 800,000 people each year.
Through this agreement, BASF and Teck aim to make safe and cost-effective high-quality zinc solutions available to populations at risk of zinc deficiency in developing countries.
Zinc from Teck’s Trail Operations will be turned into high grade zinc oxide by GH Chemicals in Montreal, which BASF will use to make food fortification supplements.
"Providing healthy food and nutrition to a growing world population is one of the major challenges of the future. Together with its customers and partners such as Teck, BASF contributes to the development of innovative, sustainable solutions,” said Kurt Bock, CEO of BASF.
This three year partnership leverages the strengths and competencies of each company, including BASF’s cost-effective micronutrient solutions, analytical and formulation expertise, application and quality control know-how and distribution partnerships, and Teck’s high quality, affordable zinc products and commitment to raising awareness about, and finding solutions to zinc deficiency.
The agreement builds on Teck’s existing Zinc and Health program which includes partnerships with UNICEF, Free the Children, the Micronutrient Initiative, the Government of Canada and other organizations.
“As one of the world’s largest producers of zinc, we recognize we have the ability to make a difference,” said Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck.
Lindsay continued, “Through this partnership, we are developing solutions that will enhance zinc micronutrient distribution systems, reduce instances of zinc deficiency in developing countries and ultimately improve human health.”
"We welcome that BASF and Teck are combining their respective expertise to work together to help to alleviate one source of malnutrition." said George Kell, Head of UN Global Compact.
This partnership forms part of the ‘Scaling-up Nutrition’ (SUN) process and it aims to help the United Nations in their efforts to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals, particularly the goal to half poverty and hunger by 2015, by contributing to the realization of the Human Right to Food.
"We need to break the links between poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. This requires the full engagement of many sectors and actors, including the private sector, said United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
The agreement supports the goals of the United Nations Global Compact, aiming to demonstrate leadership in UN-Business collaboration.
It will be guided by the “fundamentals of Effective UN-Business Partnerships” as developed by the Global Compact LEAD.