Discussing what matters
The Uelzena Group is always trying to establish a dialogue with its internal and external stakeholders: regularly, actively and always on an equal footing. This is the only way to learn what drives the different stakeholder groups – and what they require from our company group. Requirements, targets and measures are then derived from these dialogues.
Although stakeholder dialogues are not obligatory for the Uelzena Group – we view them as such! They help identify the various requirements and expectations placed on the company - for example by employees, members, customers and institutions. In doing so, the Uelzena Group can become aware of new trends, recognise valuable opportunities and identify possible risks. Dialogues with the stakeholders are therefore an indispensable instrument for a sustainable and competitive company that is striving for long-term business success.
The Uelzena Group has always maintained close contact with the groups that are important for the company: the stakeholders. The various channels of dialogue range from personal discussions and institutionalised meetings, for example with associations, right through to Uelzena’s own media such as the quarterly in-house newsletters and the member magazine every six months. Since the presentation of the first sustainability report in 2014, these existing dialogue approaches have been combined and continuously developed. An annual user survey is also conducted so that the sustainability report can be used as another dialogue tool to meet stakeholder requirements. Resulting findings are incorporated in the report’s offline and online content.
Our key stakeholders
The composition of the stakeholder groups is reviewed at regular intervals and critically evaluated. In 2018, the basis for these dialogues was reanalysed, weighted and the most significant stakeholders (key stakeholders) were identified for the Uelzena Group. Different lines of questioning are regularly clarified by means of special dialogue measures, often against the background of changing framework conditions and significant environmental influences.
According to GRI, key stakeholders are stakeholders whose expectations and requirements are explicitly taken into account when defining the content of the report and to whom we as a company are accountable. The expectations of all other stakeholder groups will - if needed - be considered via the principle of completeness.
The stakeholder groups to be included were identified in a workshop that comprised the following steps:
- Identification of potential stakeholders according to our specific business context.
- Clustering of stakeholders to form umbrella groups with interests and requirements that are as similar as possible.
- Evaluation of the significance of the relationship between our company and the umbrella stakeholder group on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). The mean value of the scores of all umbrella stakeholder groups is 3.96. All umbrella stakeholder groups with a score of more than 3.96 are considered to have above-average relevance.
The results from the new process: On the basis of 39 identified interest groups, these were combined into a total of nine umbrella groups. Some umbrella groups remained unchanged, they include customers, employees and members, while we realigned others and changed their names. Four of these umbrella groups are now considered to be of above-average relevance: members, employees, customers as well as state and institutions.
STAKEHOLDER UMBRELLA GROUPS OF UELZENA GROUP
Stakeholder umbrella groups and their composition
- Management of the members
- Representatives of the committees of the members
- Supervisory board members of Uelzena eG
- Members of the Board of Directors of Uelzena eG
- Milk producers of the members
- Employees including apprentices
- Works committees
- External contractors/temporary workers
- Executives + management
- Multinational food companies
- Confectionery and baking industries
- Coffee roasters
- Operators, vending sector
- Ingredients brokers, ingredients industry and its customers
- Specialised wholesalers
- Retailers in Germany
- Suppliers of branded health products
- Final consumers
State and institutions
- Legislators (laws and regulations) and authorities (environmental authorities, building authorities, veterinary offices, customs offices, tax authorities, trade inspectorates, labour offices, etc.) at a municipal, state, federal or EU level.
- Management and certification systems (ISO 9001, IFS, energy management, SEDEX, VLOG, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance), as well as external auditors, public accountants, tax auditors and customs auditors.
New topics through dialogues
The Uelzena Group is in constant dialogue with its key stakeholders. An employee who systematically records the requirements and expectations is responsible for the exchanges between these particularly important stakeholder groups. In this way, we learn about the concerns and opinions of the representatives of the key stakeholders, particularly with regard to:
- Current expectations and requirements to the Uelzena Group.
- The Uelzena Group’s strengths and weaknesses as seen from the stakeholders’ point of view.
- Evaluation of the current strategy, measures, systems and processes of the Uelzena Group.
- The question regarding what changes the stakeholders feel the company will be facing in the coming years, including those that involve both opportunities and risks.
Details on this orderly procedure and on the results regarding the selection of topics are described on the web page materiality analysis.
STAKEHOLDER: INTERESTS AND WAYS OF DIALOGUE
Requirements and expectations
- Milk price (stable to above average)
- Long-term guaranteed sales
- Protection of equity/corporate hedging
- Personal contact and trust
- Equal treatment of members
At the Annual General Meeting, in the presence of other stakeholders, the members vote on, amongst other things, the composition of the Supervisory Board, the annual approval of actions of the Management and Supervisory Board and amendments to the statutes. The Supervisory Board, which meets five times a year, 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. In addition, representatives of Uelzena eG take part in meetings of the member cooperatives and answer questions.
Also: Newsletter (12x/year), member magazine (2x/year), annual report, special measures on specific issues (expert panel on producer surveys, development of actions, introduction of the VLOG standard)
Requirements and expectations
- Long-term employment
- Positive working atmosphere
- Appropriate income
- Modern work places
- Further training and development
At the Annual General Meeting, in the presence of other stakeholders, the members vote on, amongst other things, the composition of the Supervisory Board, the annual approval of actions of the Management and Supervisory Board and amendments to the statutes. The Supervisory Board, which meets five times a year, 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 the CEO is involved in a permanent two-way dialogue. In addition, representatives of Uelzena eG take part in meetings of the member cooperatives and answer questions.
Also: Staff magazine (4x/year), internet and intranet, notice board information, staff notifications by letter, sustainability report.
Requirements and expectations
- Reasonable prices
- Reliable supply and tailor-made quality
- Partnership, trust and service
- Auditing of sites
The most important tool on several levels is the frequent personal contact between our customers and the company. In addition, there are annual surveys and assessments.
Moreover, since 2016, we have organised 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, press releases, industry meetings, fairs and exhibitions, annual business and sustainability report.
Requirements and expectations
- Compliance with laws, regulations, directives, voluntary commitments, contracts, rules of certification systems
- Documentation and verifiability of compliance with rules and laws
- Detection, elimination and improvement of possible infringements and errors by the company itself (continuous improvement process)
Our employees also maintain personal contact with the authorities and institutions. Open questions or concerns are clarified in direct exchanges.
Also: Meetings, audits