With the rise of conscious consumerism and investing, companies around the world are increasingly incorporating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria into their business operations. A company’s ESG performance is based on several indicators not related to financial performance, including carbon footprint and level of accountability. These metrics enable businesses to measure the sustainability and societal impact of their operations and evaluate corporate behavior.
As a global nutrition company operating in more than 90 countries, Herbalife Nutrition views ESG criteria as essential to its business strategy and performance. Founded in Los Angeles in 1980, the company has been on a mission to improve the nutritional habits of people around the world with high-quality, science-backed products that help them meet their nutrition and wellness goals. Over the past few years, the company has made significant efforts to strengthen its ESG practices.
Herbalife Nutrition North Asia Vice President Stella Tsai is a corporate champion of ESG. She is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition ESG Steering committee, the lead for the company’s Asia Pacific “Go Green” Task Force, a board director of the semi-governmental Multi-Level Marketing Protection Foundation, and a chair of the Taiwan Direct Selling Association (TDSA) Code of Ethics Committee. Tsai explains that Herbalife Nutrition is a strong voice for industry self-regulation and a code of ethics to achieve the highest possible standards of doing business.
“We have a mission to continuously elevate our ESG index,” she says. “Our ESG strategy will leverage our strengths and global reach in three meaningful ways – expanding access to nutrition, expanding access to economic opportunities, and strengthening environmental stewardship.”
Executing ESG effectively can help ensure a company’s long-term success but promoting it as a business model takes the proactive involvement of both companies and the industry as a whole. Herbalife Nutrition Taiwan General Manager Ceasar Chen notes that the company is an active participant in the TDSA. He says that although most TDSA members are Herbalife Nutrition’s direct competitors, they are all partnering to promote improved regulation of the industry, as well as increased product safety.
To continue to thrive and innovate, as well as to incorporate various perspectives, Herbalife Nutrition emphasizes the importance of inclusion and diversity at the company, particularly at the management level. The company employs people of many different ethnic origins, and women account for more than 50% of the total workforce. In addition, Herbalife Nutrition is committed to ensuring the traceability of ingredients in its products and that its upstream suppliers comply with local laws and regulations.
Through its efforts, Herbalife Nutrition has proven that even minor adjustments can make a substantial impact. The company has significantly lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled) plastics on product canisters by 25% and by decreasing its products’ outer packaging.
Chen highlights three of the company’s noteworthy achievements in reducing its carbon footprint in Taiwan.
“Our team won Herbalife Nutrition APAC’s Cost Sustainability Award in 2019 after we started using reusable water bottles made of recycled materials,” he says. “We have also implemented measures to reduce our energy consumption to provide environmental and cost-saving benefits. Our initiative to discontinue plastic bags for our members and encourage them to carry reusable bags has been particularly well-received and resulted in a reduction of 88 tons of plastic in the APAC region alone.”
Herbalife Nutrition’s ESG initiatives also exceed the scope of its products’ life cycles. The Herbalife Nutrition Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of communities around the world by providing healthy nutrition and nutrition education to children and communities in need. In Taiwan, the foundation’s Casa Herbalife Nutrition Program provides monetary grants to local schools in remote areas. These grants cover education services and Herbalife Nutrition products for the students. When the company launched “Nutrition for Zero Hunger (NFZH)” – a global initiative focused on providing nutritious food, aid, and nutrition education to communities around the world – in 2019, the Taiwan team decided to incorporate its objectives into the Casa Herbalife Nutrition Program.
Moving forward, Tsai stresses that Herbalife Nutrition will continue its efforts to make a positive social impact at the local level.
“We not only offer quality nutrition products to help people live a healthier life, but also provide an economic opportunity to people who are interested in being their own boss,” she says.
With over 40 years of global operations, including 26 years in Taiwan, Herbalife Nutrition is now preparing for the next generation of business leaders to take up the reins. These younger employees and distributors prioritize sustainability and recognize the importance of developing long-term, sustainable business strategies. And for Herbalife Nutrition, expanding its positive impact is a genuine move in line with the company’s mission.
“Our Company is built around improving people’s lives. We combine high-quality nutrition products, social support, and the opportunity to build a business and invest in local communities,” says Tsai. “We will ensure that our commitment to nourishing people and the planet is embedded in both our day-to-day activities and our long-term business strategy.”