Succeeding - little by little
Again we have been able to use the past business year very effectively: We have further developed our Annual and Sustainability Report and, most importantly, we have expanded the structures for our sustainable management. This has been reviewed and certified for the first time by an independent body.
As with any organization, all targets and strategies for sustainable corporate development within the Uelzena Group are governed by the environment. In 2016, there were two important issues. Firstly, at the World Dairy Summit, the International Dairy Federation (IDF) together with the FAO (UN Organization on Nutrition and Agriculture) signed a declaration on the sustainable development of the dairy sector: “The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam”. This is a comprehensive statement and commitment that refers to the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Uelzena Group is a member in the German Association of the Dairy Industry (MIV) and therefore linked to the work of the IDF. We expressly support its work.
Secondly, the German Federal Government has adopted the Climate Plan 2050. This plan contains targets for industry and agriculture, which have an impact on Uelzena's targets for energy and CO2. This Climate Plan as well as the Declaration of Rotterdam confirm that the Uelzena Group with its sustainability strategy is on the right path. Since 2014, we have been reporting annually on our targets and the progress we have made. We are also continuously further developing this form of reporting as well.
Major issues and summary
In the main chapters of this printed report for 2016, we focus on highly interesting topics. For example, in the chapter “Production”, we introduce a specific program for improvement that will secure our future in the long run. In the central field of action “Company”, we explain in detail the reasons why the Uelzena Group has achieved satisfactory corporate results despite a difficult market in 2016.
In order to provide an overview on all central developments, the most important facts and results for 2016 are summarized in columns with contrasting colors. As always, we are informing all of our stakeholder on the website of the Uelzena Group in full on all sustainability aspects, reasons, targets, measures and current key figures relevant to us.
Progress in fundamental issues
Within the reporting period 2016, we were able to achieve substantial progress in setting up sustainable corporate structures. Our purchasing department, for example, has designed a comprehensive management approach for the sustainable procurement of raw materials (see also chapter Products). We also started with the set-up of a Compliance Management System (CMS) for the entire Uelzena Group. This is based on the Code of Conduct that defines the ethical and legal scope of actions for Uelzena eG and its employees. The subsidiaries will be integrated into one of the next development steps. Moreover, a whistleblower system will be in place that allows illegal and detrimental infringements to be reported confidentially. The Code of Conduct and more information are available on the internet under uelzena.de/compliance.
With certificate: examined indexes
We have also made considerable progress in the further development of the reporting quality in compliance with the “Global Reporting Guidelines” GRI. We have improved and expanded different indicator statements. Added to that we had an independent chartered accountant recalculate and certify the quantitative results and achievements of our sustainability targets from our internal Strategy 2020 based on the “International Standard on Assurance Engagements ISAE 3000” (see right column for details on achievement of targets). This demonstrates clearly that Uelzena does not evaluate the achievement of defined targets all by themselves but rather involves independent auditors for improved transparency.
Minor changes of the materiality analysis
We have reviewed our materiality analysis on some points. Following a thorough review and in coordination with significant stakeholders, we have decided that animal welfare and transport are not relevant to Uelzena as individual aspects. This is because the GRI aspect Animal Welfare refers predominantly to companies where animals are kept and bred. Uelzena does not have its own animals. Nevertheless the topic is still important to us because we procure and process animal products. Animal welfare plays a central role in the GRI aspect Procurement.
We do not consider the aspect Transport as being significant at the moment. The reason for this is the result of the study “Environmental balance of milk and dairy products" (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg, Germany, 10/2014, www.ifeu.de). The study concludes that the sustainability of transport, which is initiated by a company - predominantly in terms of energy consumption and CO2 emissions - is not of high priority for dairy companies. However, this evaluation may change in the future. We have scheduled a general review of the materiality analysis for 2017/2018. We expect to be presenting the results together with new features from the GRI Guideline next year. This will also include the inputs from the stakeholder dialogue, which we are constantly developing further.
Basis and framework data
In 2016, we again followed the internationally acknowledged GRI Reporting Standard 4.0 Food Processing, which we intend to have completely implemented in the 2017 report along with the option “In accordance - CORE”. The Focus is placed on the four operating sites in Uelzen, Bismark, Ratzeburg and Warmsen. The reporting period is the business year of the Uelzena Group from 1.1.2016 to 31.12.2016. As in the previous year, the report this year is also available in the German language - printed and available as a PDF for download from our company’s website.
After having published three printed and online sustainability reports, the participating parties from the Uelzena Group are currently analyzing their work. We are thinking about the best way to inform the relevant and interested stakeholders on our sustainability developments. The question as to whether there will still be annual reporting in the future, either in printed form or online available at uelzena.de only was still being discussed at the time of the editorial deadline of this report.