Partner in the regions
The Uelzena Group aims to strengthen the regions around its four production sites. In doing so, the company creates economic prospects for its partners, vistas for young people and an environment worth living in for its employees.
By tradition, the Uelzena Group has been an important economic factor for its surrounding regions - not only as an employer, but also as a buyer and customer, because the company purchases the majority part of the raw materials that it processes from regional suppliers. This includes packaging materials and agricultural raw materials such as sugar but of most importance, one particular raw material: milk.
In 2018, 85 percent of the various milk raw materials came from the region, i.e. from a radius of 150 kilometers around the production sites. In terms of raw milk, the share reached 99 percent. In the reporting period, numerous milk producers from within these catchment areas became new suppliers to Uelzena members. In 2017, a total of 760 farms delivered the raw milk, while in 2018 the tank trucks visited 830 regional companies to collect fresh milk. This means that an even larger share of the purchase value stays in the predominately rural regions. In total, the high regional quota for milk raw materials also led to a strong increase in value share (from 77 percent to 82 percent) for all regional suppliers to the Uelzena Group.
Good quota for services despite plant construction
The quota for services is not that high. There is a simple reason for this as this field includes services that are often not available from suppliers within a 50 km radius. This mainly includes production plants, construction and consulting services as well as technical equipment. At least 17 percent of the services purchased in 2018 were provided by regional companies. And this is despite the fact that some of the cost-intensive investment and construction projects require the know-how of highly specialized service providers. We succeeded in taking regional companies and skilled workers into consideration for the bidding and contracting rights for these construction sites.
“People who engage in voluntary community activities also assume responsibility for social interaction. We would like to support this work so that the regions around our sites remain alive through clubs and organizations.”
Karina Bode-Koch, PR Manager, Uelzena
It is the self-understanding of the Uelzena Group to be not just an employer, but also a partner in the regions around the four sites. In 2018, the Group supported several social projects and was particularly committed to children and young people. For example, Uelzena eG and its subsidiaries provided financial funds to the youth fire brigades in the regions around the sites as well as to schools and sports clubs. The companies also sponsored cultural events, for instance within the scope of the city festival in Uelzen and at the Altmark festival in Bismark.
Another goal of the Uelzena Group remains unchanged, namely, to promote the voluntary engagement of its employees. Anyone wishing to receive a grant for projects within the framework of voluntary work can still apply for it. However, in the 2018 reporting period, not all of the funds were used. After optimizing project communication, the demand is already significantly higher in 2019.
In the next sustainability report, a new topic will supplement this field of action in terms of regional economic strength and the attractiveness of the locations: ethically and legally impeccable conduct (compliance). This was decided by the Working Group Sustainability within the process of updating the materiality analysis. The Uelzena Group wants to perform as a company of integrity and also ensure that its business partners comply with the Code of Conduct. Compliance is a topic that has long been deeply anchored in the Uelzena Group and will in the future also be included in the strategic objectives in the action field of "Social and Regional Responsibility".
The four production sites of the Uelzena Group in Uelzen, Ratzeburg, Warmsen and Bismark are all located in the north of Germany. These are rural areas where agriculture plays a central role. However, industry and trade are under-represented and the economical structure is rather weak. This makes the significance of industrial companies such as Uelzena eG and its subsidiaries even more important. These companies are key employers, buyers of raw materials, clients for local service providers and tax payers.
The Uelzena Group, as a large industrial enterprise in a structurally weak, rural region is well aware of its responsibility. Therefore, it procures its most important agricultural raw material, namely milk, predominantly from the region, from farms located close to its sites. When awarding contracts to service providers, local providers are preferred. Moreover, the Uelzena Group also promotes charitable projects in which its employees are involved.
The regional procurement of agricultural raw materials, doing business with local service providers and the consideration of local communities are relevant sustainability topics. This is of particular interest for the members, the regional suppliers and service providers of the Uelzena Group and for local politicians and authorities. See also: Our stakeholders.
The approach: The Uelzena Group prefers - wherever possible - regional suppliers and service providers, supports prospects for young people from the regions and encourages its employees in their voluntary commitment.
Our sustainable strategy for the regions – overview on targets and measures
- The Uelzena Group prefers local service providers and suppliers - thus promoting milk production, jobs and the businesses in the regions.
- Young people and their prospects are supported within the regions so that more of them will decide to stay in the region they grew up in and may even be able to develop a career in Uelzen, Warmsen, Ratzeburg or Bismark.
- The Uelzena Group and its subsidiaries support the voluntary work of their employees. The aim is to contribute to the preservation or development of diverse club activities in the regions.
Higher regional added value
Agricultural raw materials and semi-finished goods: The Uelzena Group guarantees its regional member dairies that it will buy their milk raw materials including cream, concentrates and raw milk and that it 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. Dairy raw materials such as unprocessed milk and cream are considered to be regional when they come from within a 150 kilometer radius around the production sites. In this way, Uelzena eG and its subsidiaries are supporting local farmers, providing income in rural areas and strengthening agricultural added value activities in our milk collecting regions. Non-dairy raw materials and semi-finished goods are considered to be regional when they come from within Germany. For example, sugar is procured from German refineries that exclusively process German sugar beets.
Services: The Uelzena Group intentionally prefers - at the same price-performance ratio – regional suppliers and service providers that are located within a radius of a maximum of 50 kilometers around each of its sites. This also includes craft businesses and forwarding companies. In doing so, businesses and jobs from the regions are supported.
Support for young people
The Uelzena eG and its subsidiaries support promising projects from youth work, schools and their own initiatives. They support schools as educational sponsors and participate in career finding activities in cooperation with schools and regional businesses. In 2016, for example, the youth centers in Uelzen, Bismark, Ratzeburg and Warmsen were supported; in 2017 various youth sports clubs and in 2018 the youth fire brigades at the plant locations received funds.
Higher regional quality of life
The Uelzena Group welcomes and encourages voluntary work from its employees, when it is a regular and unpaid activity for a public-interest institution. 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 they are feasible for our company. In addition, employees can apply for financial support for the non-profit organizations they work for. To date, around half of the funding budget has been used.