See Far, See Through
Upon the launch of the sixth Sustainability Report of Strauss Group, Gadi Lesin, Group President and CEO, openly shares with us the debates and reasons that led to the decision to publish an annual Sustainability Report as part of the Strauss Way.
It may be difficult to believe, but the journey of Strauss in the field of sustainability began decades ago, during the time of its founders, who, leading by example, revived and assimilated concepts of responsibility in the DNA of the company. This concept has only expanded and evolved over the years. Sustainability has turned into a professional discipline in our company, combining countless processes, and becoming incorporated in managerial considerations for business decision-making.
Over the past six years we reported on our impact and activity in the field of sustainability. When we first took this journey, we didn’t exactly know what we were letting ourselves into, or what implications lie in the decisions we made. What we did know, however, was that we have decided to become more open and transparent to all those who come into contact with our company, while sharing the economic, social and environmental impacts of our activities as a food company with our consumers, suppliers, employees and customers, the media and government agencies. It is customary practice today to place all these impacts under the title “sustainability”, which, in its broader sense, denotes the ability to maintain a process or situation over time. In our case, it is about the continued existence and prosperity of a growing business.
As you can imagine, being a global group of businesses with about 14,000 employees across 22 countries, the impacts we have on all those who come in contact with us in these areas are quite substantial. Consequently, the decision we made to act transparently from the belief that the sun rays will illuminate the things we need to improve, was quite difficult for anyone involved at GMT level. We are confident that the
mere writing of this report, the very existence of a dialogue, and the receipt of feedback on the information we reflect -will all help us to trace gaps, apply internal control, and, primarily, drive improvement processes.
Today, more than ever, we live in an age when the confidence of stakeholders and consumers in particular, becomes a valuable asset. The only way to regain their trust is through transparency, through genuine willingness to accept criticism, and continuous examination of social and public voices, which have significant influence on the way companies make business decisions.
ince we are attentive to this new mindset, and given that past reference to sustainability and the emphasis placed on responsibility resulted mainly from values from the legacy conferred to us by the founders, it has today become a part of our strategy – doing better business.
The future dictates a different business conduct. Business firms, like Strauss Group, which produce consumer goods found in almost every household and become a very significant component in people's lives, can no longer provide just financial information about their company's economic strength, stability, solvency and assets.
At Strauss we realized that our stakeholders deserve more, and not just as a cliché. They deserve to know what we are doing for the communities we live and work in, and recruit our employees from. They deserve to know the levels of our environmental impact as a company with industrial plants, and the measures we take to minimize them. They deserve to know how we introduce constant improvements in the nutritional ingredients of our products – our core business activity. They deserve to know how we secure the health and safety of our employees, and how we believe our suppliers should be treated as partners.
The question "Why do stakeholders deserve to know?" is no longer relevant. It has a clear answer.
No business can be sustained for long without building confidence with its stakeholders. Consumers choose us every day anew. They choose us because of our products, quality, innovation and, of course, the value-for-money they provide, but there's more. Today, more than ever, consumers increasingly include responsible conduct in their considerations. It is important for them to purchase products from a reliable company that conducts its business transparently. They want to buy products from a company that directs its economic impact at promoting a healthy economy - whether through fair employment or by operating an industry committed to environmental protection. They want to buy products from a business that allocates parts of its profits to contribution to society every year.
Since we are attentive to this new mindset, and given that past reference to sustainability and the emphasis placed on responsibility resulted mainly from values from the legacy conferred to us by the founders, it has today become a part of our strategy – doing better business.
We are in constant motion; on a journey of improvement. While we still need to improve in many areas, the choice to report transparently requires us to continue this journey in full force. At Strauss Group we believe this is the only way to manage a prosper organization over time.
Our achievements under the sustainability umbrella are the product of a concerted effort of thousands of Group employees, and any results achieved in the future will be their doing as well. I am proud to lead a company that after eight decades still strives to improve its practices, and respects the people surrounding it. I hope
President and Ceo