Danisco is setting an example to other companies. For the sixth consecutive year, it has reported on its performance in the sustainability area. Benefits for the environment, consumer health and company image have been achieved.
Danisco is a world-leading biotechnology company with activities at 142 locations in 47 countries. Its products are used in ice cream, jam, bread and many other food products. With more than 100 million people regularly eating or using products containing its ingredients, the responsibilities are huge.
“Our ability to perform responsibly towards society is decisive for the company’s position in the marketplace,” says Liselotte Carlsen, project coordinator in Danisco’s Corporate Sustainable Development Division. She leaves no doubt that sustainability is more than just a sector interest.
“Sustainable development is a fully integrated part of our business model and considered by management as a basic driver for creating an effective and socially responsible organisation. Our image and credibility rely on top-class sustainable performance,” emphasises Ms Carlsen.
Committed to sustainable development
“Danisco’s decision to integrate sustainable development into its business platform is not only due to legal or customer requirements but also to an equal extent because it will benefit the company financially,” Ms Carlsen explains. “We also consider it an insurance for Danisco as well as our customers against potential problems in relation to sustainability. As a demonstration of our commitment to this area, we signed the Business Charter for Sustainable Development in 1992 and the UN Global Compact in 2003.”
Danisco’s sustainability-related initiatives have led to its inclusion in both the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4 Good Indexes, which impose strict requirements on businesses.
According to Ms Carlsen, Danisco’s foundation in sustainable development is a continuous and dynamic process to support the company’s production and sales function.
“It should not only be seen in a traditional sense - eg, health and safety or fighting pollution – Danisco is also striving to develop new products with less negative impact on the environment in the customer’s application process, or food ingredients with health-promoting effects, for instance in relation to overweight or diabetes. In addition, Danisco focuses on reducing the overall energy consumption in the entire value chain for its products,” Ms Carlsen points out.
One example of this can be found within Danisco’s sugar division which, over the years, has optimised efficiency and processing at its factories, turning them all into state-of-the-art facilities. As a result, Danisco is one of Europe’s most efficient sugar producers, in terms not only of yield but also of energy consumption. Relations with the surrounding communities are also strong.
Ms Carlsen believes that successful sustainability performance depends first and foremost on leadership and commitment. “This can only be achieved through a structured approach. We must establish goals and plans, set standards for how to operate our facilities, take account of any negative impact related to our products, develop people’s skills and knowledge, and establish a follow-up system for monitoring our progress and taking corrective action,” says Ms Carlsen.
Advanced level of reporting
DNV has been commissioned by Danisco to verify Danisco’s 2006 sustainability reporting in both its printed format, the report entitled “Energy and balance at all levels”, and online format. The scope of assurance included social, environmental, health and safety indicators and sustainability data and activities.
Ms Carlsen comments, “This year we have, for the first time, employed the new Global Reporting Initiative G3 as our reporting guidelines. Both we at Danisco and DNV confirm that the GRI “C+ application level” has been met.
The report demonstrates Danisco’s efforts to embed its sustainability approach into business and manage its reporting activities at an advanced level.
“We like to think that being responsible is not always an expense. It can result in exciting new products and reinforce the company’s stance as an attractive collaboration partner,” says Ms Carlsen.
“Consumers also expect companies to be good citizens. They want to feel good about grabbing a product from the supermarket shelf, not weighed down by a guilty conscience about the environment, obesity problems or the people involved in production,” says Ms Carlsen, and concludes, “Through our efforts, we are working to make all this possible. That helps to make us an attractive partner.”