8 November 2016
A message from our CEO, Dr. Mark Carr
Sugar is at the heart of what we do, but the sugar making process provides us with opportunities to do so much more, generating value for our company, our customers and the communities in which we operate.
Although our business is different in each country, our approach remains the same; to set local priorities and programmes to meet demands on the ground. This is underpinned by our sustainability framework ‘Global Mind, Local Champions – growing a sustainable future’ – an approach which I believe responds to the emerging demands we face.
Today the 2016 Associated British Foods Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report was published. Within this you can see how sustainability is critical to our business success. In the report you can find out more about our latest initiatives and the progress we have made with our people, our supply chain and our work to manage our footprint on the environment.
New world, new connections – our three pillars of sustainability
For us, sustainability is economic, social and environmental and our three pillars set out the areas where we can make a positive change: building rural economies, creating thriving and healthy communities and ensuring responsible resource consumption.
Building rural economies is an increasingly important priority for us in a global context where food security and agricultural supply chains are under pressure and where urbanisation is a growing threat to rural livelihoods. A priority for us is to unlock the barriers to the development of rural economies, improve our operations and work with our growers to ensure sustainable, efficient agricultural production.
Last year, Illovo purchased 6.9 million tonnes of sugar cane from 16,658 independent, outgrower farmers and in Mozambique we are improving the livelihoods of 2,500 sugar cane smallholder farmers through training and improved food crops. In the UK, all of British Sugar’s beet sugar growers have been Red Tractor Farm assured for the past eight years, a globally-recognised standard which recognises sustainable agriculture methods.
Supporting and enabling thriving, healthy communities is the backbone to our business. This year’s CR Report highlights the ways we have respected human rights in our business practices and delivered high standards on health, safety and education. Last year, Azucarera committed to combating youth unemployment and signed an agreement to provide work experience at our Benavente Packaging Centre.
We are also committed to playing a role in finding real, workable, evidence-based solutions to the obesity crisis in the UK and regularly engage with all aspects of the obesity debate to understand different views.
Our businesses depend on the availability of water, energy and soil, which is why the third pillar – consuming resources responsibly is so critical for our business. It’s our goal to maximize all the resources we have at our disposal and to extract as much value as possible from the beet and cane we process.
To achieve this, Illovo has continued to focus on the effective management and measurement of water quality and abstraction, which has been especially relevant over the past 18 months operating in drought-affected countries. Whilst our sugar business in China has improved processes to segregate and measure the waste it generates.
Over the coming months, we look forward to sharing more on the successes and progress we are making across our entire business in growing a sustainable future for the businesses and the communities in which they operate.
Notes to editors:
To read the detailed 2016 Associated British Foods CR Report, click here.
Please follow us on twitter @ABSugarplc for regular updates on the AB Sugar ‘Global Mind, Local Champions – growing a sustainable future’ journey