Why is responsible business good business? If you’re in the food and drinks business, as we are, responsibility is an essential ingredient and never an optional extra. As a minimum, we have to ensure that our packages fully protect the valuable product as it makes its often bumpy journey to the consumer.
That’s our responsible starting point. But disruptions in our fast-changing world are forcing the spread of business responsibilities much further than ever before. If we are to retain our position as a responsible partner to our customers, we must make sure that we set high social, environmental and ethical standards and meet the extended obligations that these create throughout the value chain.
Our world is being shaped, and constantly reshaped, by disruptive trends that are affecting every business. Massive population growth (nearly 10 billion by 2050), climate change, resource squeeze, rapid urbanisation, shifting eating habits of the fast-expanding middle classes… these are just some of the megatrends that are posing great risks for business. But the world is also full of opportunities for companies that are flexible and fast enough to understand their responsibilities and convert them into market-beating products and services.
“People want to know that their food and drink is safe. But also: Is the packaging recyclable? Is it renewable?”
The speed of change constantly increases as the internet and mobile phones enable ‘radical transparency’. This allows consumers to learn about what happens upstream in the supply chains where raw ingredients are mined, logged, caught or manufactured.
Heightened consumer interest
Heightened consumer interest in social and environmental issues has further increased demand for greater transparency from brands and companies. People want to know that their food and drink is safe; that the products they buy do neither harm the environment nor the people who are involved in the production of the raw ingredients and final products. And it is not only what’s in the product but how the product is packaged: Is the packaging recyclable? Is it renewable? How much does it contribute to climate change? Were the raw materials used to make the packaging responsibly sourced?
Most consumers want to trust that their preferred brand – or the company behind the brand – has taken responsibility on their behalf. And furthermore, they want to know that the company or brand they trust is an all-round responsible corporate citizen. Does it care for its employees and keep them safe? Does it contribute to its communities? Does it protect the environment? Does it promote human rights?
Activist – such as Greenpeace, Oxfam and a growing army of bloggers, vloggers and tweeters – make it their business to dig out information and use social media to encourage consumers to make their concerns heard. Even if you are high up the supply chain, your customers lower down will make sure to share their anger if you are responsible for their discomfort. There is no place to hide. Consumer demands for assurance affect the entire value chain because each link depends on the integrity of those above.
Responsibility built in
Being a responsible company is not only the right thing to do but it reduces supply chain risks and enables companies to engage better with their customers and suppliers.
“Being a responsible company is one of the pillars of our business strategy, our Compass.”
Being a responsible company is one of the pillars of our business strategy, our Compass. There are two more: responsible sourcing and responsible products. This is why we say responsibility is built into SIG because our business strategy commits us to producing responsible products, made from raw materials that are responsibly sourced. This makes us proud to call ourselves a responsible company and a responsible partner to our customers.
Committed to transparency
Because we see responsibility as absolutely integral to HOW we do business, we have developed a roadmap with stretching goals to ensure we meet our commitments and continue to improve. Early in 2017 we will reveal key details of our roadmap and at the end of the first quarter we will issue our responsibility report to show our progress and performance. This is part of our commitment to transparency and we have designed it to ensure our stakeholders can hold us accountable and encourage us to improve.
Our work in our three responsibility pillars is good for our business because it builds trust with our customers and suppliers. Our suppliers know that we only accept high quality raw materials that comply with our social, environmental and ethical conditions. And our customers can trust that we will not pass them any problems because we have the commitment and systems in place to ensure we have a responsible supply chain.
Taking responsibility means that everyone wins because our emphasis on responsible business increases the value we can pass to our customers, and they, in turn, to their customers and consumers.
That’s the beauty of SIG’s responsible business.