Corporate responsibility is now accepted as a major part of doing business, even when the economic climate is less than ideal. FoodNavigator.com rounds up the main messages of some of the world’s biggest food and beverage companies.
Coca Cola’s responsibility tag line is ‘Live positively’. It sees seven core streams to this: Beverage benefits; active healthy living; energy management and climate protection; community; sustainable packaging; water stewardship; and the workplace.
For General Mills, the buzz phrase in its 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility report is ‘Nourishing lives’. To do this, it says there is a need to integrate economic, social and environmental factors into a sustainable business strategy.
But it also breaks down the Nourishing lives mantra into three consumer-friendly goals: To make life healthier; to make lives easier with more convenient foods; and to make lives richer with foods that contribute to the living experience.
Groupe Danone has recently revamped its responsibility goals. It says most of its long term environmental goals were achieved in 2008, leading it to establish new objectives in climate risk, packaging, protection of water resources and biodiversity.
However it has taken CO2 as an indicator of this evolution, as it says CO2 is a “synthetic indicator which ‘leads to’ a large amount of environmental indicators”.
Kellogg’s central message is trust, built up over more than 100 years, during which the company founder’s signature has always appeared on packs. This trust, it says, touches not just the products’ quality and nutrition profiles, but social and environmental concerns in the value chain – such as water, climate change and energy.
“We must confront and address this growing range of issues with humility and creativity, making responsible choices. We know that our stakeholders look at the choices we make in deciding whether to choose us,” said chairman Jim Jenness and president and CEO David Mackay in Kellogg’s first corporate responsibility report in 2008.
Kraft’s message is all about ensuring today’s activities do not impinge on those of future generations. “To us, a delicious world is about living well and taking care of each other today, while being vigilant about the tomorrow that we’ll leave for the next generations,” it says on its website.
At PepsiCo, the aim is to enable growth for the company and built its portfolio, but to balance that out with considerations for the future over energy, water, packaging, the workplace, and working with communities. This is encapsulated in the phrase ‘Performance with Purpose’.
Unilever published its 2009 sustainability report last week, entitled Creating a better future every day. It contains a new vision to decouple growth from environmental impact. That is, which it wants to double the size of the company, it also wants to reducing its overall environmental impact, from raw material sourcing, through consumer use of products, to disposal and waste.
The company is retaining the thread of ‘shared value creation’ for all stakeholders (eg customers, suppliers, communities, employees), which runs through its business culture. “Today, we are applying it to the challenges of the early 21st century: climate change, water scarcity, poverty alleviation and malnutrition to name but a few,” said CEO Paul Polman in his introduction.