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The Kraft Heinz announcement comes about a month after the company pulled a $143bn bid to buy Unilever, saying it didn’t want to get involved in a politically charged takeover fight. A major point of concern, particularly in Europe, was whether the Anglo-Dutch consumer-products giant’s focus on "brands with purpose" would survive the relentless cost cutting that is the hallmark of 3G Capital, the private equity firm that manages Kraft Heinz.
Now, Kraft Heinz is pledging to donate 1 billion nutritious meals to people in need by 2021, improve the sustainability of its supply chain and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent. The cheese-and-condiment maker, created in a 2015 merger orchestrated by 3G and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has had a corporate-responsibility program since last year and has been working to broaden its targets over the past several months. The recent announcement wasn’t prompted by backlash to the Unilever approach, according to Chief Executive Officer Bernardo Hees.
The corporate responsibility program has “been embedded into our company vision since Day One and is unrelated to any transaction,” Hees said in an email.
Kraft Heinz will spend the $200m over the next couple of years, and doesn’t plan to change profit forecasts or raise prices on products as a result of the investment, Hees said. The company plans to release a full corporate social responsibility report that will lay out the full details of its targets later this year.
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