YUM Brands and The World’s Largest CSR Project


It has been a while since I've written anything about Corporate Social Responsibility, but my attention has been focused there the past few weeks as I have watched Yum Brands based right here in Louisville, KY, launch what may be the largest CSR project ever undertaken by a public company. What is it all about? According to Nick Huhn of Yum, it's about the world's largest food company partnering with the world's largest hunger relief effort. The press release about the push can be read here.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, today launched the world's largest hunger relief effort in an attempt to help stop world hunger. Called "World Hunger Relief Week," the program supports the United Nations World Food Programme, the frontline agency in the fight against global hunger. During October 14-20, 35,000 company and franchised restaurants located in 112 countries will be participating in some way, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food.

More than 850 million people know what it is like to go to bed hungry in all corners of the globe. More people die from hunger each year than from war, tuberculosis and AIDS combined. In fact, every five seconds, a child somewhere dies from hunger.

The company partnered with the U.N. World Food Programme, the world's leading humanitarian agency feeding 90 million poor people, including 58 million hungry children, in 80 of the world's poorest communities.

I tend to be skeptical of these types of corporate projects, but Yum employees have really supported this effort, donating money and time to help make a difference. Regardless of your philosophical views on CSR, this project is interesting because Yum seems to be walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

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The company has set up a blog called From Hunger to Hope to chronicle the project. It includes lots of pictures and videos and I think it's an excellent example of a company using new media to engage the public. I would love to see more of that among large companies.

The ultimate judgment on whether or not this is a good idea will be determined by the final results. Can YUM make a difference? Should YUM try to make a difference? Feel free to leave your kudos or your complaints in the post comments.