Charity investors have written to the chief executive of Compass Group about substandard food parcels provided to children in place of free school meals during lockdown.
A coalition led by CCLA Investment Management has asked Compass Group to clarify the value of the food parcels, whether any analysis is done to ensure pricing is accurate, whether there is analysis of how nutritionally balanced the food is and what action is being take to address concerns raised this week.
Chartwells, which is a part of Compass Group, faced an onslaught of criticism when photos of food parcels shared on social media appeared to show that children were not being sent enough food.
Signatories to CCLA’s letter include representatives from Trust for London, ShareAction, Lankelly Chase, Epworth Investment Management, Church Commissioners for England, Rathbone Brothers and Legal and General Investment Management.
'It is incumbent on us all to do our part'
The letter said that they were pleased by Tuesday’s apology, but warned “an insufficient response to this issue could raise questions about the group’s commitment to your stated guiding principles and values and has the potential to cause significant reputational damage to Compass Group”.
James Bevan, chief investment officer at CCLA Investment Management, said: “At times it is necessary to seek answers, not only as investors in the company, but also as members of society. The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for everyone and particularly for lower-income families. It is incumbent on us all to do our part. As responsible investors, we will call upon companies to demonstrate commitment to sustainable business practices that meet the needs of all stakeholders.”
Martin Buttle, head of good work at Share Action, a charity that works on building the movement for responsible investment, said the charity supported CCLA’s initiative and for charities to make their views known because “it’s scandalous that we can’t feed kids during this pandemic”.
“At ShareAction as a charity we have a vision of world where the finance sector supports a fair healthy and just society,” he explained.
Jessica Attard, head of food and health at ShareAction, added: “It’s really not an isolated issue it’s a symptom of a much more systematic and systemic issue which really cuts across the whole food industry.”
She said some catering companies, manufacturers, and retailers are “really not taking their role in child and population health seriously” and that Share Action is doing work urging the sector to “develop comprehensive health strategies and to publish those targets and to monitor those going forward”.