Our Opinion: Businesses join to alleviate hunger abroad

A new business initiative shatters the left-leaning myth that companies are only about making money.

Businesses — including companies with international reach — are helping aid groups alleviate the hunger and misery being suffered by victims of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.

The assistance isn’t food or even transportation, per se. Instead it is what one company characterizes in its advertising as logistics – methods and processes that deliver products rapidly and efficiently.

Those methods and processes include bar codes, electronic way bills and vertically integrated partnerships – in short, the same logistics that help businesses succeed.

Josette Sheeran, executive director of World Food Program, said the aid group is benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars worth of technology the businesses are providing at no charge.

Companies involved in an emergency logistics team include UPS, TNT, Maersk and Agility. All are involved in shipping, delivery or transportation.

Esther Ndichu, humanitarian logistics manager for UPS, said: “One thing we’ve noticed in the last two years is there’s a willingness from (aid groups) to open up and have this private company come in an help them, even though they’ve been delivering aid the last 50 or 60 years, they’re asking ‘Are we doing it as efficiently as we should.’”

This initiative on an international scale dovetails with our observations of local retailers and manufacturers who consistently support local health and human service programs.

Of course businesses are about making money. That’s how they stay in business, which also permits them to provide desired goods and services, employ workers and pay taxes.

To criticize a business for making money is like condemning a student for achieving good grades.

When businesses prosper, economies grow, services are provided and needs are met.

The business initiative to alleviate hunger abroad is simply a new addition to time-honored formula.

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