U&I Corporate Social Responsibility presented by Mr Mike Crump - President
The U&I Sugar Corporation business model does not exist in isolation, nor is it simply a way of making money. Our employees depend on our business. Customers, suppliers and the local community are all affected by our business and how we take care of it. Our products, and the way we produce them, also have an impact on the environment.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is about understanding our business' impact on the wider world and considering how we can use this impact in a positive way. CSR is also good for our bottom line.
It means U&I Sugar Corporation is taking a responsible attitude, going beyond the minimum legal requirements and following straightforward principles that apply wherever your business division is located and no matter what your involvement is in the company.
Corporate Social Responsibility cuts across almost everything we do and everyone we deal with.
The U&I VISION:
• The suppliers we choose and the way we deal with them. For example, trading with suppliers who pollute the environment could be as irresponsible as doing so ourselves.
• How we treat our employees. As a responsible business, this means doing more than simply complying with legal requirements.
• How our business affects your local community and whether we should be actively involved. How what you do affects the environment and what you can do to use resources more efficiently and reduce pollution and waste.
• This doesn't mean that we cannot run a profitable business. In fact, CSR can help U&I improve it's business performance. By looking ahead, we are ready to cope with new laws and restrictions. We avoid costs such as wasted energy or paying unnecessary waste fees. Perhaps most importantly, we can keep winning business from increasingly demanding customers.
The business benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Corporate Social Responsibility is not just about doing the right thing. It means behaving responsibly and also dealing with suppliers who do the same. It also offers direct business benefits.
Building a reputation as a responsible business sets U&I apart. Companies often favour suppliers who demonstrate responsible policies as this can have a positive impact on how they are perceived by customers.
Some customers do not just prefer to deal with responsible companies, but insist on it. The U&I Sugar Corporation, for instance, place's a strong emphasis on it's CSR and publishes detailed 'warts and all' reports on it's performance on a wide range of criteria rom the growers of the cane and beet to the factories which produce it. This has been the new approach to “open sharing” we, as a corporation, have embraced.
Reducing resource use, waste and emissions doesn't just help the environment - it helps our margins too. It is not difficult to cut utility bills and waste disposal costs and you can bring immediate cash benefits.
There are other benefits too:
A good reputation makes it easier to recruit employees.
Employees may stay longer, reducing the costs and disruption of recruitment and retraining; our average employee retention is 84%.
Employees are better motivated and more productive.
CSR helps ensure U&I Sugar Corporation comply with regulatory requirements.
Activities such as involvement with the local community are ideal opportunities to generate positive press coverage. We intend to keep generating articles based on our CSR program, further enhancing U&I corporate image.
Good relationships with local authorities makes “doing business easier” with U&I Sugar Corporation.
Fully understanding the wider impact of our business can help us develop new products and services.
CSR can make U&I more competitive and reduces the risk of sudden damage to our reputation (and sales). Investors recognise this and are more willing to partner with us.
Understand the environmental impact of everyone’s business:
Our business affects many different people - employees, customers, suppliers and the local community. It also has a wider impact on the environment.
Even the simplest energy efficiency measures, like reducing our processes and equipment when they are not needed, makes a real difference. Reducing the use of water also directly cuts our costs. Regenerating electricity from sugar mills is our goal to help local economies and our part in reinvesting in the universe.
Minimising waste can also make a big difference. Simple steps like reducing the amount of paper we waste can immediately help costs and the environment. We employ specialists to save even more by thinking about waste implications when we design new products and production processes. Caring about the environment can increase revenue too. Many customers prefer to buy from responsible companies like U&I Sugar Corporation.
Here are some of the ways in which we can reduce the environmental impact of our business. For example:
1. Creating recyclable products where possible.
2. Sourcing responsibly, and encouraging U&I suppliers.
3. Minimising packaging.
4. Buying locally to save fuel costs whilst encouraging local business.
5. Creating an efficient (and fuel-efficient) distribution network.
6. Working with suppliers and distributors who take steps to minimise their environmental impact.
We can reduce the environmental impact of our business by using environmental assessment techniques such as lifecycle assessment and setting up an environmental management system.
By working with your customers and suppliers in a responsible way our business can reap substantial rewards.
Choosing our suppliers carefully is an important part of our approach to CSR. When selecting suppliers we also examine their employment, health and safety and environmental practices. Customers are increasingly concerned about the wider impact of supply chains, for example, on local work forces and environments. Our reputation can be damaged by being associated with businesses that abuse the rights of their own workers or their local environment.
Work with the local community:
Working with our local community brings a wide range of benefits. For many businesses local customers are an important source of products. By improving our reputation we find it easier to recruit employees. There are many ways to get involved. Some businesses choose to support a local charity or sponsor a local event. It makes commercial sense to get involved in an activity related to our product. This lets us use our expertise as well as showing the human face of our business. example, some restaurants provide food to local homeless groups, while builders may give free labour and materials to community projects.
U&I Corporation involves it's employees in working with the local community. For example, we can support charities chosen by employees. Some businesses encourage employees to volunteer for community activities and also give them paid time off for this. As well as improving our community relations this can help motivate employees and can help develop their interpersonal and team participation skills.
U&I also gives employees the option of making regular charitable donations which are deducted 'at source' from their pay.
Our business takes a pro-active approach to dealing with local crime by supporting recent offenders.
We offer offenders work experience or training as part of a sentence or on a voluntary basis and provide financial or practical resources to the local community, and get involved with local regeneration projects. U&I also supports staff who volunteer in the criminal justice system, eg as mentors, special constables, youth offender panel members or in victim and witness support.
Measure the effectiveness of our Corporate Social Responsibility:
Corporate Social Responsibility helps U&I cut costs and boost sales. However, there are other significant benefits which are slightly harder to measure.
Benefits such as improved reputation, stronger customer loyalty and motivated employees should not be overlooked, and can in fact be measured. For example, improved motivation could lead to reduced absenteeism and reduced staff turnover. Similarly, customer loyalty could increase levels of repeat purchasing.
U&I Sugar Corporation use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure your environmental impact. It is worth remembering that measurements will probably only show the immediate impact of CSR. The biggest benefit can be the long-term improvement in your reputation. At the same time, we see CSR as part of a continuing process of building long-term value. Everything we do should help improve our reputation and encourage customers and other stakeholders to stay involved with us. A business that buys recycled paper - but exploits its customers and ignores the community - has missed the point.
Effective CSR helps U&I continue to differentiate itself. Even with dozens of competitors, a real commitment to CSR allows us to stand out. As well as affecting the way you behave, CSR can lead to new products and services that reflect our values and those of our stakeholders. Over time it can all add up to a powerful brand - and a winning business.
U&I Sugar Corporation
Big enough to trust, small enough to care.
Board resolution 7th Feb 1994