THE SOCIAL COMPASS: A NEVER ENDING JOURNEY OF IMPROVEMENT
In light of the opening of Corporate Social Responsibility Month, Osnat Golan, VP Communications, Digital and Sustainability at Strauss Group talks about the Social License to Operate, what led the Company to choose this approach and why it is so important, especially today.
One cannot overlook the fact that something big is happening to all of us. Information and knowledge are becoming readily accessible, communities are becoming drivers of change, and we are becoming increasingly aware and are actively seeking to influence our quality of life.
In an age such as this, trust has become a precious asset in relationships between people, and all the more so, in relationships between corporations (brands) and consumers.
During the month of June, we will be honoring CSR Month at Strauss. As a food company that touches the lives of millions of people around the world who choose its products, every day, we have been accompanied by the value of responsibility since the Company’s inception. In the past two decades the term “Corporate Social Responsibility” has evolved and has deepened its influence on the decision-making processes of businesses.
Against the backdrop of this social change, the social justice protest in Israel and public demand that corporations across the globe conduct their business activities fairly, we decided to assimilate the Social License to Operate (SLTO) approach in Strauss Group. In practical terms, this means integrating our responsibility to all our stakeholders throughout the length of the Group’s entire decision-making process.
we learned that the two parameters that are the most important to the public in Israel are fair prices and lowering the cost of living, coupled with the promotion of a healthy diet through our products.
As part of assimilating this approach, we developed an "organizational barometer" through which management regularly examines, investigates and discusses the expectations of the public and all our other stakeholders (suppliers, employees, dietitians, etc.) of us.
In the past two years we learned that the two parameters that are the most important to the public in Israel are fair prices and lowering the cost of living, coupled with the promotion of a healthy diet through our products.
What we particularly understood is that we are given a Social License to Operate, as long as we truly work to advance and improve those things that the public expects us to improve, because the public is the one that grants us this license, every moment anew.
The change starts inside
Assimilating the SLTO approach is a day-to-day assignment, and it is the responsibility of the managers and employees who work in the Company's name. In fact, it is a new management prism through which every decision we make is examined, including its numerous impacts on our different stakeholders.
What does this actually mean? It means looking at our marketing communications in a way that examines parameters of information transparency, advertising that is not offensive, fair pricing, nutritional improvement, as well as efficiency enhancing processes and technological changes in the plants that accompany the development, mobility and protection of the Company's employees.
Sustainability along the value chain
Eighteen months after this approach was initially assimilated at Strauss, it is exciting to see that already, it is intertwined with the management concept and in the way decisions are made, and is not just a label on the CSR shelf or an exclusive focus on product prices.
Reviewing decisions through their influence on stakeholders and analyzing feedback have led Strauss's managers to apply dozens of improvement processes in the past year, from diversifying the Company's products and making more products accessible to special-needs groups (such as expanding our gluten-free range), through deepening our investment in the service orientation in a company like Strauss Water, to an economic social initiative to voluntarily improve the earnings and working conditions of our employees.
But the genuine internalization of the SLTO prism is based on the understanding that this is a never-ending assignment. By initiating a dialogue and constantly monitoring consumer response and the topics of Internet discourse, feedback from focus groups consisting of employees, suppliers, investors, consumers and relevant professionals such as doctors, dietitians and social organizations, we are able to refine and focus the accuracy of the way we work.
We learn from the reflection we see in the mirror, draw conclusions and act accordingly.
This is the new meaning of CSR, and it has changing the role of the CEO and deepens the business's influence.
As more needs develop and expectations grow, we will need to keep on challenging ourselves in the moral context of the term "CSR". This is a never-ending journey of personal and organizational improvement that is entirely based on a compass built by the citizens of the world every single day.