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Heifer International: Give World Changing Gifts this Valentine’s Day

Posted by: Emily Grant on February 14, 2013
Heifer International

Heifer International is a global development organization that exists to help end poverty and hunger through creating sustainable programs in agriculture and livestock. This Valentine’s Day Heifer suggests alternatives gifts, such as “Give a flock of chicks to the sweetest chick you know” or “Give a dairy goat to the one that always gets your goat.”

Gift givers can click on an animal icon on Heifer’s website and learn more about how that gift represents, as the site says, “a lasting, meaningful way for you to help.” Year round Heifer International provides individuals and families the ability to “pass on the gift” through the purchase of livestock given to those in developing countries. A growing portion of Heifer’s business celebrates the idea of ‘shared value’ and is increasingly driven by their corporate relationships.

While we at Interbrand are committed to our core belief that “Brands have the power to change the world,” it's not every day that we get to see this mantra truly come to life. I recently had the fortunate opportunity to sit down with Heifer International, Danone and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to discuss how partnerships between organizations directly benefit their business goals and supply chains, featured in our Better Together video series. I also had the amazing opportunity to visit the Heifer International headquarters for the Corporate Partnership Summit, “Beyond the Bottom Line: Creating Shared Value Through Partnership.” It was a motivating, enlightened day to say the least.

It’s no secret that consumers believe corporations have a direct responsibility in solving our world’s economic, social and environmental issues. What was astounding to me is the level of strategic thought, intention and commitment from corporations and partners like Heifer that’s being dedicated towards solving this shared value equation – that what’s good for business is also good for the world.

A pioneer in the field of creating shared value ecosystems, Danone was present at the conference to share the success of their Direct Supply-Chain partnership with Heifer. Through this program, Danone is able to access and stabilize their needed milk production by creating cooperative farms, self help groups and other types of cooperative organizations that ultimately significantly improve the income and living conditions of smallholder farmers – 80% of Danone’s milk suppliers.

The results are all that’s needed to know this is a model with lasting, transformative impact: nearly 2,400 farming families have participated in the cooperatives, with each family experiencing substantial gains in income, stability, food consumption, and overall well being. And this is just one of the many Heifer programs around the world.

The day left me excited to be a part of this new frontier of enlightened thinking, and to know that corporations around the world are co-creating innovative solutions, along side organizations like Heifer, that use business strategy to end hunger and poverty. While the road ahead is an arduous one, the choice between profitability or social impact is diminishing, and we’re entering a world where simply synchronizing for sustainability creates transformative change.

Emily Grant is an Associate Director, Brand Strategy for Interbrand.

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