Erin-Richards-Kunkel

Erin Richards-Kunkel shares how Herbalife Nutrition is furthering social impact through a globalized CSR strategy

Positive impact is already embedded in our business model, because the combination of our nutrition products and coaching from our independent distributors is aimed at helping people live healthy lives. Erin Richards-Kunkel
Founded in 1980 with a corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, California, Herbalife Nutrition is a global nutrition company, currently operating in 94 countries. Its widespread network of countries and growth of customers and independent distributors around the world means Herbalife Nutrition must consider their CSR strategy through a global lens.

According to Erin Richards-Kunkel, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Corporate Social Responsibility, Herbalife Nutrition’s CSR strategy focuses on empowering teams to impact local communities. It all stems from the work with the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation (HNF), which now supports more than 140 community-based organizations in more than 50 countries worldwide by providing access and education for healthy nutrition for communities in need.

“Our global community means that we see the entire world as our backyard,” said Erin. “We are focused on broadening our global reach to support more communities in need.”

To continue strengthening their ability to support communities around the world, Erin’s team has shifted focus to support high-impact organizations with global reach and several new programs dedicated to empowering regional teams to localize activities to meet their needs.

As a nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition is committed to enabling people to live healthier lives.

“Positive impact is already embedded in our business model, because the combination of our nutrition products and coaching from our independent distributors is aimed at helping people live healthy lives,” said Erin. “But furthering lasting change means looking holistically at tackling large scale problems. One of the major needs of our global community continues to be around access, education, and empowerment around good nutrition.”

So, Herbalife Nutrition has focused their social impact programs to address growing needs around hunger, food security, and malnutrition.

Herbalife Nutrition’s CSR strategy consists of major components including supporting access, education, and empowerment of good nutrition to those in need globally.

“Due to our deep nutrition expertise, we’re poised to make the greatest amount of impact in the CSR space by providing access, education, and empowerment around good nutrition through our partnerships, programs, and initiatives, amplified by what we do locally and globally,” Erin said.

Our global community means that we see the entire world as our backyard. Erin Richards-Kunkel
First and foremost, this means working with global partners who are focused on the same purpose and objectives, addressing large scale global hunger and food insecurity. Additionally, Erin and her team are developing and providing educational resources to help empower communities around making healthy nutrition choices and providing a greater understanding of the role of nutritious foods.

“We see that the number of hungry people around the world is growing. Those facing chronic food deprivation is expected to reach more than two billion by 2050,” said Erin. “Nutrition impacts health at all stages of life, and our focus is to address food security through the lens of nutrition, ensuring that people have access, knowledge, and ability to have healthy nutrition options.”

The Herbalife Nutrition team is innovating to create new opportunities for regional teams to own local pieces of global programs, customized to fit local needs like language, customs, and local workplace culture.

“We want to make sure everybody can be a part of the good we’re doing,” she said. “We’re creating elements that people can make their own and add to that growing momentum. Our global teams are empowered to take elements of any campaign or initiative and create further awareness or impact.”

One of the key campaigns they run globally is Herbalife Nutrition’s annual Global Month of Purpose, a month where employees are encouraged to participate in company-sponsored volunteer and community-based events around the world. This global movement allows for individual employees, teams, and countries to collaborate and join activities that mean the most to them and encourage hands-on work in local communities.

“This year we had an incredible outpouring of support for our Global Month of Purpose,” said Erin. “With more than 10,000 hours spent in service to local communities around the world, we are eager to continue to support our employees and distributors with more ways to volunteer and give back.”

To drive communication and awareness across the organization, they enlist the help of local purpose ambassadors.

With more than 10,000 hours spent in service to local communities around the world, we are eager to continue to support our employees and distributors with more ways to volunteer and give back. Erin Richards-Kunkel
“We communicate across 94 countries, various regional and local offices, distribution centers, manufacturing and warehouse facilities, and our networks of independent distributors,” said Erin. “Each has different needs, timelines, languages, and channels for communication. That can be a challenge for our team’s agility and delivery of assets based on each group’s needs.”

Erin emphasized the importance of building up and relying on the ambassadors. “Now we’re seeing that employees want to be a part of the direction we’re headed, and they want to be involved and have a stake in what happens,” she said.

Since the shift, they’ve begun to see broader reach across their customers and distributors worldwide.

For example, Herbalife Nutrition hosts regular blood drives through the American Red Cross at their U.S. offices year-round, but they wanted to involve more teams and regions.

By empowering our regional teams, we were able to reach places where blood supply is critical and truly make a difference. Erin Richards-Kunkel
They saw an opportunity to expand their reach beyond the U.S. specific program to a global impact by supporting World Blood Donor Day. Collaborating with their Innovation Team and using employee crowdsourcing tools, they were able to utilize available resources to help teams run their own blood drives at offices across the world.

“World Blood Donor Day was a top-voted employee idea,” said Erin.

“We took the momentum from employees to provide more resources to teams around the world to create more blood drives.”

They empowered teams to organize blood drives in nine other countries, including several in South American and Asia Pacific regions, resulting in more than 500 additional blood donors. Malaysia, one of the countries with the highest participation, generated more than 130 units of blood donated. A unit of blood can save up to three lives.

“Although simple, this is life-saving,” said Erin. “By empowering our regional teams, we were able to reach places where blood supply is critical and truly make a difference.”

According to Erin, understanding varying workplace cultures and employee experiences is key to creating a scalable strategy.

She said that’s where listening to team members about how they react to and consume elements of their CSR programs has played a key role — not just in communications, but how events and opportunities are planned. Sometimes, that has meant offering weekend opportunities for employees who can’t take time out of their workday to volunteer.

Adding more key learnings from regional teams and gaining a greater understanding of employee wants, needs, and varied workplace cultures can provide more perspectives to continue to strengthen global impact.

Erin Richard-Kunkel has been a member of the CSR Board since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn. Read more about how Erin and the Herbalife Nutrition team are supporting communities at IAmHerbalifeNutrition.com.