Tod Gimbel, VP of government affairs for Asia-Pacific, said the firm's nutrition products were now being sold by its independent business owners in more than 90 markets, contributing to total revenues exceeding $5bn.
He told the UN Development Programme-backed Responsible Business Forum in Singapore that this had given the firm the opportunity to make a powerful contribution.
"The direct selling model gives us a unique perspective, because we are effectively a business made up of many SMEs," he said.
"These individuals are running their own business with our support, and this gives us a tremendous chance to connect with a large number of communities."
The UN's 17 goals include almost 170 targets regarding health, poverty, nutrition, the environment, communities, industry, energy, and education, to be met by 2030.
Gimbel was speaking at a panel discussion focused on goal three: improving Global Health and Well-Being. He said in the past 12 months, the firm had taken significant steps to help contribute towards this in APAC.
Macro and micro measures
"We want to make world healthier and happier," he said. "Now this is a nice, smiley aim but there's a lot of meat behind that, too."
He said that on a macro level, the company was continuing to promote healthy, active lifestyles through its sponsorship of athletes and Olympic committees, but its activities in local communities was what "made us the most proud".
He added that locally-run nutrition clubs established by business owners were increasing access to health products that people could not always afford.
There are now almost 100,000 such clubs, where people can drop in and buy individual servings of Herbalife's protein shakes, teas and other products.
"This is a social enterprise, in a sense, and it provides access to products for those who can't afford the $60 price of some of our products.
"Not only do they get to enjoy our products, but we can also work with them to encourage a more healthy diet. We know that supplements alone cannot or will not make people healthy," he added.
Collaboration is key
Gimbel also revealed that Herbalife was pushing ahead with public-private partnerships in the region to boost health awareness.
It recently signed a deal with Indonesia's Ministry of Health and the Office of the Vice President to help prevent diabetes and hypertension.
"The goal is to educate, inform and change peoples' habits," he said. "This is still in its early stages, but ultimately, our nutrition clubs in Indonesia will be a great source to get that information out."
Meanwhile, in India, the company has partnered with regulator FFSAI to train nutrition club operators in food safety, hygiene and nutrition awareness.
A pilot project is now being run in Delhi, in the hope that this information can be filtered down to the 6,000 nutrition clubs in the country.