By: Ellen Martin | Associate Director, Partnerships at Shared Value Initiative | October 22nd, 2015

(Photo: A local farmer holds up his coffee cherry crop / Nestlé)

In this companion series to the Fortune “Change the World” List, we’re highlighting 14 additional shared value leaders making commitments and investing in innovations to address societal needs. Though Fortune did not include them in the final list, these companies are ones to watch for future rankings.

When you’re in the business of agriculture, your company’s success depends on the success of local farmers. These four companies understand that in order to make excellent food, you need excellence all the way down your supply chain. So they’ve invested in training and infrastructure to not only increase productivity and product quality, but also to improve the livelihoods of rural agricultural workers who often labor in poor conditions.

In food, nutrition, and agriculture, these are the companies to watch:

 

Nestlé

The company’s coffee brand, Nespresso, has invested over a decade providing support, training, financing, and technical assistance to over 60,000 farmers across the world to ensure the highest quality product. In Columbia, for example, the CEO reports that these farmers not only experience improved conditions and net income, but also deliver double the volume of quality beans.

 

Abbott

In India, Abbott has committed to sourcing 80% of its dairy ingredients locally for its nutrition manufacturing plant. They have invested in facilities in Jhagadia to create customized nutrition products that address the region’s health needs, as well as training and education for Indian dairy farmers in India to help increase their production of high-quality milk.

 

Yara International

The fertilizer company is tackling the difficult challenge of agriculture market development in Tanzania, which is now the subject of a Harvard Business School shared value case study. Its coauthor, FSG’s Mark Kramer, comments that the firm is “raising the income for millions for farmers, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in this value chain and actually increasing its own market share, growth prospects, and profitability dramatically in the region.”

 

Mars

Realizing that more than 70% of the world's chocolate supply is produced by approximately five million smallholder farmers in West Africa, with Côte d'Ivoire the largest producer, Mars has led a cross-sector effort to create a sustainable cocoa industry in Cote d’Ivoire with several companies, NGOs and government. The program aims to ensure long term supply of quality cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire by improving the prosperity of cocoa smallholders. Mars has invested into coaching farmers to adopt advanced agricultural practices to renew their aging farms, which will improve farm productivity and lead to higher incomes.

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