In March 2014, Givaudan co-sponsored an AIM-PROGRESS event on responsible sourcing in conjunction with two of the world’s leading fast moving consumer goods companies, Nestlé and Bacardi. As a member of AIM-PROGRESS we were able to collaboratively host this event, using our voice to share the challenges and achievements of suppliers in their responsible sourcing journey.
Attending the event was Givaudan’s Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), Jürgen, who commented on how these meetings really deepen relationships with our key customers and bring support to the supplier community: “By presenting at events like these, we help large companies understand that sustainability doesn’t stop with first tier suppliers. They recognise that we also need – and do – have our own programmes in place, and this is how we cover the entire supply chain, right up to the farmer’s gate in the furthest corner of the world. This is the ultimate objective of AIM-PROGRESS, to ‘positively impact peoples lives through our combined leadership of robust responsible sourcing practices throughout our supply chains’.”
Company principles and values
The audience was composed of over 300 delegates, and the event enabled suppliers to discuss some of the challenges they face, as Jürgen explains:
“We tend to judge social and environmental standards from our own perspective in the industrialised world. Developing countries have different problems and standards that cannot be directly compared with ours. Take child labour for example – all forms of child labour are against our Company principles and values, but we, and the industry recognises that this is a complex problem that requires a holistic view: one that works with, rather than against communities. An effective way of eradicating the possibility of child labour and an approach that Givaudan actively takes, is to build schools and offer support to the communities in running them. This helps ensure that children are well taken care of and are safely occupied.”
Unilever supplier day
It is by sharing experiences around these kinds of topics that the dialogue is kept vibrant within AIM-PROGRESS. And as our CPO states, discussions often continue later in the year as delegates reconnect at different symposia. This was the case when Jürgen attended and spoke at a seminar given by Unilever in September 2014. This time, Givaudan was invited as a special guest, representing suppliers and discussing our work in responsible sourcing.
Jürgen commented: “Being a key speaker at the Unilever Supplier Day in Responsible Sourcing Excellence paid testament to our recognition as a leader in the industry. We have been a partner of Unilever for many years, and share the same values and business ethics.”
“We felt honoured to be invited by Unilever, a company that has engrained responsible sourcing in their business and business targets. As CPO, I always seize the chance to get even closer to our customers and really understand their progress and challenges. I could share Givaudan’s own journey as I spoke about our Origination programme, our supplier’s SEDEX achievements and our vanilla sourcing in Madagascar.”
Environmental and social goals are at the heart of Unilever’s business strategy, and the event attracted a packed room of over 200 delegates. One of the outcomes of the day was recognising that sustainability challenges are not just limited to developing countries, but that developed nations have their own challenges too, particularly about topics such as environmental protection and non-discrimination. It is by looking at continuous improvement, a concept being championed at AIM-PROGRESS that will keep all stakeholders moving forwards.”
Both events enabled Givaudan to reflect on our progress so far, whilst still recognising that we have further to go on our sustainability journey. Jürgen concludes: “By the end of 2014 we had achieved several targets, with 293 of our 400 suppliers on-boarded onto the SEDEX programme and 144 of them stringently audited. Elsewhere in our supply chain, our dedicated Origination team is helping us manage the supply of our most vulnerable natural ingredients. We appreciate the recognition we have received this year for our efforts, but know that we still have many more goals we wish to achieve in this domain.”