Stakeholders

Keeping the big picture in mind

Important information, new ideas, trust - companies can only gain these if they communicate with their different stakeholder groups. The Uelzena Group uses different channels to promote dialogue.

The influence of a company does not stop at the factory gates. It usually goes further and affects areas as diverse as the economic success of suppliers and customers, local ecosystems as well as the quality of life of local residents. Sometimes its influence is much bigger than the company is aware of. Therefore it is important to maintain a dialogue with the stakeholder groups. Stakeholders are people who have a legitimate interest in a company because they are directly or indirectly affected by its actions.

A stakeholder for the Uelzena Group may be a member of Uelzena eG who is interested in investments in the future viability of the company. Or it may be a customer from the food industry interested in learning more about the origin of the agricultural raw materials. Or it may be an applicant who is curious to learn more about a potential new employer and the company’s attitude to climate protection.

From dialogue to strategy

The dialogue with its stakeholder groups allows the Uelzena Group to learn more about essential topics. The employees responsible for the dialogue with a certain stakeholder group can tell a lot to say about the history, for example, and have already gained some experience. Nevertheless direct exchange with the stakeholder groups helps to obtain a comprehensive overview on a certain topic or detect details that have not been considered so far. If a certain topic is found to be essential, it will be included in the strategy and management process of the Uelzena Group. This means: Defining measurable targets, developing measures to achieve these targets and establishing key performance indicators for measuring the success.

The Uelzena Group uses different channels for its dialogue with its stakeholders. The main tools are direct conversations, some of which are carried out using (partly) structured questionnaires. Systematic surveys and joint meetings are then used to supplement these. Another channel for the exchange of information comprises our company media including the staff magazine, the intranet, annual and sustainability reports and the online representation of product fields and factory sites.

A special dialogue format premiered in 2017: An expert round table, that included representatives from various stakeholder groups, took place at a farm of a milk producer for Uelzena eG. The discussion focused on the sustainability module ‘Milk’, a data collection system that the Uelzena Group introduced in cooperation with the Thünen Institute on a farm level.

Prospects

Lots of changes are taking place: from the markets to the framework conditions to the structure and strategy of the Uelzena Group, which in turn brings about changes for the stakeholder groups and their requirements. This is why we will be updating the stakeholder dialogue in 2018 based on stakeholder analysis. New groups will be added, others, mostly unimportant, will be moved so they are not focused on. Overall, new emphasis will be applied. Furthermore, new dimensions of analysis will be added; one is the assessment as to what extent the Uelzena Group meets the requirements and expectations of the different stakeholder groups; the other is an opportunity/risk assessment. Such an analysis is also needed for GRI as well as for the audit process according to the new ISO 9001:2015.

We will hold a stakeholder workshop with representatives from all stakeholder groups, which will include the findings that may result in new categorization and weighting of stakeholder groups. Other external expert opinions will also be considered in the process. This will allow us to analyze and evaluate demands and expectations placed on the company as well as opportunities and risks. The results will be included in the new materiality analysis for the 2018 report.

 

STAKEHOLDER: INTERESTS AND WAYS OF DIALOGUE

Requirements and expectations

  • Reasonable prices
  • Reliable supply
  • Food safety


Dialogue

The most important tool on several levels is the personal contact between our customers and the company. Up to now, customer surveys have been conducted sporadically with the last one taking place at the end of 2017. We used a simplified concept, which was developed based on the findings of the previous survey. In the future, we will carry out surveys and assessments on an annual basis.

Moreover, since 2016, we have organized focus talks with selected key customers on sustainability issues. These talks are used to clarify customer requirements and standpoints, for example, on the sustainability module ‘Milk’.

Also: Uelzena website, customer information

 

Requirements and expectations

  • Secure income
  • Long-term employment
  • Health
  • Workers’ participation

Dialogue

On a regular basis, the works committee, which represents the employees, will meet with the management to discuss their interests. All staff meetings will take place at least once a year at all sites. Since the end of 2016, annual staff surveys on satisfaction and employer recommendation have been conducted.

Also: Staff magazine (4xyear), intranet, notice board information

Requirements and expectations

  • Milk price (stable to above average)
  • Long-term guaranteed sales
  • Protection of equity/corporate hedging

Dialogue

At annual General Assemblies the members decide in the presence of other stakeholders on topics such as amendments of the statutes, composition of the Supervisory Board and the annual approval of actions of the Management and Supervisory Boards. The Supervisory Board is composed of honorary members who are milk producers and general managers of member cooperatives. Three milk producers are members of the Management Board and together with the Management and the CEO, they decide on the milk price on a monthly basis. This means that our CEO is involved in a permanent two-way dialogue.

Also: Newsletter (12xyear), members' magazine (2xyear), annual report

Requirements and expectations

  • Fair terms of business
  • Reasonable prices
  • Long-term business relationships


Dialogue
Stakeholder dialogue through personal contacts and meetings as well as the exchange of information with the responsible employees of the Uelzena Group.

Requirements and expectations

  • Risk management by anticipation
  • Long-term profit orientation and sustainable corporate orientation
  • Functioning control of the management by the Board


Dialogue
Stakeholder dialogue through personal contacts and meetings as well as the exchange of information with the responsible employees of the Uelzena Group.

Requirements and expectations

  • Cooperation with associations, institutes, universities and networks
  • Dialogue and transparency


Dialogue
Stakeholder dialogue through personal contacts and meetings as well as the exchange of information with the responsible employees of the Uelzena Group.