Social and regional responsibility

Closely connected to the region

The strategy to increase the raw materials we source from the region, and to support the local economy around our sites, ensures the Uelzena Group remains on the right course. We have been consistent in our approach to support the regions around our sites and develop closer ties this year as well.

.Increasing regional value creation

The Uelzena Group plays an important role in the economic and social development of the regions in which it is based: Firstly, as a reliable employer, trainer and sponsor of the region, and also by purchasing raw materials and services from the region. In 2022, local business partners and suppliers located within a radius of 50 kilometres of its sites provided 18 percent of the purchased services. Uelzena, as a cooperative company, has a special focus on regional milk procurement. For instance, in the reporting year, 100 percent of raw milk purchased was sourced from an area within 150 kilometres of the company locations. The added value created therefore remains entirely within the region.

Social responsibility is more important than ever before

Promoting the prospects of young people has been a high priority for the Uelzena Group, especially in the years following the pandemic, with the majority of all donations benefiting children and youth projects. At Christmas, for example, Uelzena sites donated to a wide range of organisations working to support children and young people. Our intention of contributing to the attractiveness of the region by sponsoring events and festivities could be realised again this year, and we provided material donations in addition to financial resources. At the start of 2022, regional responsibility was given a new dimension with the war in Ukraine. We therefore supported aid initiatives local to our sites with food donations. 

„My employer recognises my commitment to the greater good as well as my professional performance. By supporting my voluntary commitment, Uelzena shows me that volunteering is valued and encouraged.

Martin Pfabe, Drying, Uelzena eG and Chair of the Salzwedel-West volunteer firefighter association (Förderverein der Freiwilligen Feuerwehren Salzwedel-West e.V.)

Volunteer work strengthens team spirit and makes living in the local regions more attractive. As part of our regional responsibility, we therefore support organisations and facilities with which our employees are actively involved. In the reporting year, 76 percent of the funding budget was used, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year. 

Compliance – guidelines for acceptable conduct

Compliance refers to both adherence to laws and regulations and conduct that is consistent with internal company guidelines. At Uelzena, a compliance management system helps ensure that non-compliance incidents are identified in good time to head off any damage to the group. Uelzena's code of conduct is at the core of this management system and describes principles of conduct to which the company is committed. There are zero non-compliance incidents to report for the reporting year. 

More on the topic: Ethically responsible and sustainable action by the Uelzena Group

.Outlook for 2023

The Uelzena Group will continue to focus on increasing regional added value, supporting employees in their voluntary activities, promoting young people and their prospects, and making sustained efforts to boost the attractiveness of the regions in which their sites are located. In 2023, employees also have to complete a range of e-learning modules about compliance. 

Sustainability context: Why we need a sustainable regional strategy

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 economic structure is rather weak. This makes the significance of industrial companies such as Uelzena and its subsidiaries even more important. These companies are key employers, buyers of raw materials, clients for local service providers and taxpayers.

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 farmers 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.

Ethical and compliance behaviour and conduct of companies takes on an even great significance at a regional level as sustainable business also means dealing responsibly with employees, society and the environment. The increasing awareness of society for compliant and ethical/moral conduct presents companies with new challenges. Uelzena is very conscious of its responsibility, promoting trust with values-based management among its employees, respective regions and other stakeholders in the long term.

 Our management approach: Social and regional responsibility

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 compliant and ethical/moral conduct of the Uelzena Group towards its workforce, society and the environment is a topic on the company’s sustainability agenda. By incorporating the Uelzena Group code of conduct as part of their internal compliance management system, the company acknowledges its own responsibility in a social and economic context.


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

Regional development

  • 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 their home region –  and may even choose a career in Uelzen, Warmsen, Ratzeburg or Bismark.
  • The company also supports its employees’ commitment to voluntary work with the aim of contributing to the preservation or development of diverse club activities in the regions.
  • Compliance with applicable legislation, employee and human rights, cartel and anti-corruption directives and adherence to voluntary or statutory social and environmental standards is a given at Uelzena Group and forms the basis for sustainable development 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 kilometre 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 kilometres 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.

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.

Ethically responsible and sustainable action

The Uelzena Group has drawn up a code of conduct (see download box) that forms the foundation of the company’s common rules and regulations, principles and values, thereby committing it and its employees to act with integrity and in a sustainable manner. They can easily report breaches to the company’s compliance officer using a compliance management system (CMS).


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