SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING FOR 2017

Report and company both in transition

2017 was our fourth reporting year. Important milestones on our way towards being a more sustainable company have been achieved.  Nevertheless, there are still important tasks in front of us. These include continuing improvements of sustainability performance, adjustments to changes in strategy as well as reporting form and scope.

Mankind often crosses many global ecological limits in its use of existing resources, for example in climate change, biodiversity, land use or global phosphorus and nitrogen cycles. The Uelzena Group is aware that the agricultural and food industry are part of this development. For example, the agricultural sector is now producing approximately 7.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, according to the German Environment Agency. Reducing these emissions to zero is not naturally possible.

Nevertheless: If Germany is to deliver on its commitments under the Paris climate agreement, all sectors of the economy must make a contribution. The Uelzena Group is part of the food industry and has its roots in the agricultural sector; therefore the company will do whatever is possible to support the changes. We are therefore investing every year in energy efficiency measures.

Transparent strategy - exclusively online

For companies that take sustainability seriously, transparent and honest sustainability reporting is essential. It serves as a self-control measure and initiates thinking processes that result in new strategies. Most of all, however, reporting is important for informing different stakeholder groups on our performance. Such information is the basis for further dialogue and exchange.

At first sight, it may be surprising that we will not be presenting the sustainability report in the form of a printed magazine or providing it as a PDF file for download, but rather simply publishing it on our website. There are good reasons for this. Talks with the most important stakeholders on the use of a printed report with 40 or more pages revealed that it has not yet been used for the work to the extent assumed. In order to collect information from their supply chain participants, these stakeholders predominately follow a strategy based on a targeted search or resort to their own structured questionnaires (self-disclosure). In order to save resources of various kinds, we have decided not to print the report.

This is also new: For a quick overview, we are providing a PDF file for download that contains a compressed report in a table organized predominantly by disclosure numbers. See also:  GRI Index online and a PDF file

Transitioning from G4 to GRI Standards

We are now using the current “GRI Standards” instead of the G4 guidelines, which officially can be used until June 2018. The main difference is the coding used in the new standard which is based on economic, ecologic and social aspects that are in particular reflected in the GRI index. Some key terms have also changed. Aspects are now named topics, indicators are now termed disclosures. Moreover, the layout and structure of the individual topics and disclosures have been rearranged in some cases.

Another important fact is that the GRI Standards now officially make it possible to report “in accordance with GRI”. The company may deviate from the two reporting options "Core" and "Comprehensive" previously provided and choose individually which information they make available to the public. This year, the Uelzena Group will make use of this option. However, a lot of progress has been made with the reporting, and there are a few omissions because we have focused on the transition to GRI Standards. Nevertheless, it remains our objective to report in line with the Core option in the future. We are working towards this.

Audited achievement of targets as a basis

All GRI relevant topics, disclosures, motivation, targets, measures and the latest key figures are available to our stakeholder groups online on several pages which are accessible on the website navigation under "sustainability". Following our approach from previous years, we have taken the additional information for the food industry (food processing) into consideration. Furthermore, we have supplemented the GRI Standards with our own information.

The main parts of our reporting still focus on the five fields of action: company, products, production, employees and regional responsibility (see main navigation). The presentation of our achievements also remains unchanged. For each field of action, the progress made is calculated as a percentage - short, clear, spot-on.

Transparency and reliability in reporting is of high significance to us. For the second time, the quantitative results and the achieved sustainability targets from our internal Strategy 2020 have been audited and certified by an independent chartered accountant just as provided for by the “International Standard on Assurance Engagements ISAE 3000”.

Prospects

After gaining four years of experience in sustainability reporting, we are now updating our basic principles: stakeholder analysis, materiality analysis, targets, management approaches and measures. We will certainly also enter into dialogue with stakeholders in order to secure and verify our findings and to learn new ones. Is the focus we have selected still correct? What can be improved? What needs to be readjusted? We are constantly seeking answers to these questions and this process will also have an effect on the fundamentals of our report.

Added to that, general decisions are being discussed within the Uelzena Group: Do we continue to use the five fields of action or do we choose a completely new thematic approach? How can we best optimize online reporting so that it suits all stakeholders?

Whatever the outcome of this transformation process is, one thing is for sure: The Uelzena Group will not stop here and will continue to accept its responsibility as a sustainable company of the dairy industry.

Additional information for the sustainability report 2017

Scope of reporting | Contact| Status of information

Scope of reporting

As in previous years, our online report refers to the four operating sites in Uelzen, Bismark, Ratzeburg and Warmsen.

The reporting period covers the entire business year of the Uelzena Group - from 01.01.2017 to 31.12.2017.

All pages of the online report as well as the complete website will be made available in the English language. 

Contact

Please send queries and suggestions on this sustainability report to: nachhaltigkeit@uelzena.de

All contact details are available in the Legal Notice

Status of information

Publication date: 29. Juni 2018

Disclaimer | Forward-looking statement

All information in this online report has been collected with the greatest attention to detail. Nevertheless, we are not able to guarantee that there will not be any errors.Should errors become known, the relevant page will be updated as soon as possible.

This reporting contains forward-looking statements which are based on assumptions and currently available information. Future business performance may differ from the forecasts given because several factors are beyond our control and may result in deviating developments which are unforeseeable at the time of publishing this report.The statements and forecasts are not reviewed on a regular basis and corrected, if necessary.