Regional Responsibility

We are passionate about Northern Germany

We pay 98 percent of our expenses for unprocessed milk to regional milk producers. This is one figure among many others that demonstrates our contribution towards positive development of the region. We promote the regions around our sites - and with that our company as well.

We export our products all over the world. However, our production is not global. On the contrary: Our company is deeply rooted in Northern Germany. Our four sites have been established in the cities of Uelzen, Ratzeburg, Warmsen and Bismark. The majority of our dairy raw materials, the most important agricultural raw materials for us, come from companies in Northern Germany and agricultural enterprises that are close to our sites.

Moreover, we generate values in the regions: We purchase and refine local agricultural raw materials, we employ local service providers, we create jobs, train young people and contribute to the tax revenues in the communities. For example, 76 percent of our total expenses for agricultural raw materials and semi-finished products go back into the regions around our sites. We also invest in the community by supporting local, not-for-profit projects. This regional commitment is last but not least beneficial for us as well as the Uelzena Group needs strong regions for its economic success.

Our management approach: Regional responsibility

Regional sourcing and the inclusion of local communities into corporate activities are relevant sustainability aspects. This is of most interest for our members, regional suppliers and service producers as well as local politicians and authorities. We inform these interested groups (Stakeholders) on how we contribute to a positive and sustainable development of the regions around our sites. 

Our approach: We prefer – where ever possible - regional suppliers and service providers and we support prospects for young people and encourage our employees in their voluntary commitment. During 2016, we further developed our management approaches for regional responsibilities and included more material groups. See also Measures

Regional sourcing

We need various agricultural raw materials, semi-finished goods and material for the manufacture of our products. All of these materials are different, for example in terms of availability or transport conditions. Therefore, it was necessary to develop several definitions for the term region. For raw milk and services, definitions have already been established. Dairy raw materials such as unprocessed milk and cream are considered to be regional when they come from within a 150 kilometer radius around our production sites. For non-dairy raw materials, which may also be available from overseas, the area of the Federal Republic of Germany is considered to be an appropriate region. For sugar, for example, we require that the sugar beets are grown and processed in Germany in order for us to call them regional. Regionally sourced packaging materials also come from suppliers in Germany.

"We have supported local youth centers and will encourage our employees in their honorary work."

Karina Bode-Koch, PR Manager, Uelzena

Promotion of voluntary work and young people

In 2016, we defined who of our voluntary active employees is eligible to apply for financial support of their organizations - apart from the additional possibility of flexible working hours. A decisive criterion is that the applicant works on a regular basis for a not-for-profit organization, for example, as a treasurer or chairman, and receives no payment for the work. It is also important that the organization must not be of a political, ideological or religious nature. In spring 2017, we distributed a flyer within the company giving information about the new concept. The flyer also included an application form that could be filled in and entered. A voluntary survey amongst our employees showed that in 2016 almost 6 percent of our staff was involved in voluntary activities. We would like to encourage more employees to devote their leisure time to our community in the future.

Furthermore, in 2016 we financially supported youth centers at all of our sites. We chose these facilities because they fulfil important tasks within the respective regions: They take care of young people in their leisure time and thus contribute to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life. They also help young people to acquire social skills and support integration in society - irrespective of their social or cultural origin.


Results 2016: Regional responsibility

Did we achieve the objectives we defined? The integrated achievement value shows: 86 percent. In the future, the basis for the calculation will change. This is because, we are working on the definition of more internally measurable objectives for the regional sourcing of raw materials and materials. The results will also be included in the integrated achievement value. We are satisfied with the current results for the different individual indicators. In particular upon consideration, we can only determine the share of voluntary active employees to a limited extent because the survey was voluntary and thus not representative. See also Audit letter.

GRI indicators

Proportion of spending on local suppliers at significant locations of operation (G4-EC9): 19 percent of our expenditure for services is assigned to local suppliers. And even more important: in total 76 percent of our expenditure for raw materials and materials are paid to local suppliers - this is a really large share that highlights the regional entrenchment of our company. However, the share of expenditure for regional materials fell by 4 percent in 2016 from the figure in 2015. The reason: we purchased a higher amount of overseas raw materials, which were not available locally. Moreover, members outside the 150 kilometer radius around the sites delivered more milk. We have an obligation to buy dairy raw materials from our members and this is one reason why the share of regionally sourced unprocessed milk fell from 99 percent to 98 percent in value.

Percentage of operations with implemented local community engagement (G4-SO1): At all of our production sites (100 percent), we involve local communities in decisions and investment projects according to legal stipulations. We are in frequent contact with local authorities and political bodies. We also implement subsidy programs at all sites.

Uelzena’s own indicators

Percentage of regionally sourced milk raw materials in volume (UG-MLR): As in previous years, dairy raw materials from regional sources have taken a very high share. In 2016, it amounted to 92 percent of all quantities delivered. Compared to the previous year (94 percent), this figure is declining. Minor fluctuations in this value are normal and do not indicate a general trend.  

For us, as a cooperatively organized dairy, liquid milk raw materials have special significance. Apart from accrued financial reserves, the quantity of dairy raw materials supplied by our members determines the amount of equity capital. This indicator is important for several groups of stakeholders; it also serves for the determination of regional sourcing. Contrary to that, G4-EC9 is defined and accounted for by the GRI organization as a value share. This is why we use similar indicators in order to cater for all information requirements.

Our sustainable strategy for the regions – overview on targets and measures

Regional development

  • We prefer regional service providers and suppliers and support in this way regional businesses and jobs.
  • We promote the perspective of young people from the regions around our sites so that more of them decide on staying close to home – and maybe decide in favor of a career at Uelzena.
  • We welcome and support the volunteer work of our employees so that a varied range of associations and other facilities can be maintained in the regions.

Higher regional added value

  • Agricultural raw materials and semi-finished goods: We guarantee our regional member dairies that we will buy their milk raw materials including cream, concentrates and raw milk and that we will pay a competitive milk price. A very large share of these dairy raw materials comes from regional sources, from the Northern German Federal States Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt. The agricultural companies that produce our raw milk are located no more than 150 kilometers away from our sites. In this way, we are supporting local farmers, providing income in rural areas and strengthening agricultural added value activities in our milk collecting regions. We source non-dairy raw materials and semi-finished goods from within the Federal Republic. We buy our sugar from German refineries that exclusively process German sugar beets.
  • Services: We intentionally prefer - at the same price-performance ratio – regional suppliers and service providers that are located within a radius of a maximum of 150 kilometers around one of our sites. This also includes handicraft enterprises and forwarding companies. In doing so, we aim to keep businesses and jobs within the region.

Support for young people

We support promising projects from youth work, school projects and our own initiatives. We support schools as educational sponsors and participate in career finding activities in cooperation with schools and regional businesses. In 2015, we financially sponsored the youth fire brigades at all of our sites; in 2016, we contributed financially to the youth centers in Uelzen, Bismark, Ratzeburg and Warmsen.

Higher regional quality of life

The Uelzena Group welcomes and supports the voluntary work of its employees. A varied range of sports clubs and other social and cultural facilities in the regions contribute to a better quality of life so that these regions are now becoming once again more attractive to young people. If possible, we offer our employees flexible working hours upon request and as long as is feasible for our company. Moreover, we financially support not-for-profit organizations where our employees work on a voluntary basis.