Danisco expects sustainability effects on bottom line

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability

Danisco’s new sustainability chief will look to build more value from company policies and seeing results on the bottom line – as well as for the environment and local communities.

The Danish ingredient firm announced today that Jeffrey Hogue will take up the role of VP of corporate sustainable development as of 1 July. An employee at Genecor for 16 years, where he was director of sustainability, Hogue will be relocating from San Francisco to Copenhagen.

The appointment ushers in the next step for sustainability at Danisco, which has been developed over the last seven years. With Søren Vogelsang (who is retiring) as VP, the company has “done a good job at operational risk reduction​,” Hogue told FoodNavigator.com.

While this will continue, the next step is a strategy to derive value from sustainability initiatives.

“We now need to focus on the different sustainability aspects of products offered, and articulate the benefits of products.”

“We see a lot of customers asking for that information,”​ said Hogue. And while it has not necessarily been a condition of sale in the past, in the future he expects it will become a prerequisite of doing business.

Three-pronged approach

Hogue’s approach to sustainability is three-pronged, taking account of social, environmental and economic aspects.

“There is a public perception of sustainability where people feel the need for drastic measures very quickly to reduce the environmental impact. But part of sustainability is making money,”​ he said.

“Our innovations make impacts – whether positive or negative – we can’t lose the focus on what we are here to do as a company,”​ he explained.

“We can’t go back to the caveman days. We need to build on what we have already achieved and drive it to the next level, focusing efforts on areas with the biggest impacts on communities, the environment and the bottom line.”

Operational importance

Danisco recently received an A+ grading for its sustainability reporting under the Global Reporting Initiative – the top grade for how data is reported that indicates it is addressing all the aspects detailed in the framework, whether or not is sees positive results.

The application was audited by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and also investigated how corporate policies are implemented at site level.

Hogue said this is where real change and performance is seen – in site workers chose to engage certain suppliers, for instance, to use specific processes that may have large environmental implications, or whether they are socially responsible in the community they are working in.

One of the big projects on the horizon is developing a systematic and centralised system for evaluating suppliers and the supply chain.

“As the supply chain becomes more complex it is important to have more systems,”​ he said, adding that there is a need to consider internal stakeholders’ requirements of suppliers, such as quality and pricing.

Not in a vacuum

Danisco has been very involved in developing GRI’s forthcoming supplement for food processors, which be circulated in draft form in August. But Danisco’s efforts are by no means in a vacuum.

For example, Walmart’s sustainability demands are passed to its product suppliers, who pass requirements to Danisco, which passes them to its suppliers.

“We are influenced, and also influence,”​ Hogue said.

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