Nowadays a large number of consumers is becoming more and more health and environmentally conscious.
They expect manufacturers to provide full information about product in a transparent manner.
Since manufacturers are held totally responsible for what is put in the product, they should control not only their operations but also operations of their suppliers.
Most producers find investment into sustainable development of their supply chains a reasonable option. This goes beyond control over quality of raw materials delivered to the production facilities. It also includes measures taken to address social and environmental issues.
Sustainability in supply chain infers that suppliers work in safe and healthy work environment, they are not subject to violation of human rights, gender inequality or discrimination of any kind, no child or no forced labour is used, fair prices for products or raw materials are paid to suppliers.
In addition to the mentioned above, suppliers should seek to reduce water and energy consumption, minimize waste and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, ensure proper stewardship of resources, reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and substances.
Communication channels between suppliers and buyers should be open and guarantee that both parties share all the necessary information in a transparent manner. Some organizations prefer monitoring their suppliers, while others request certifications, adherence to environmental management systems or to Suppliers’ Code of Conduct.
A vast majority of Austrian enterprises work diligently to further their sustainable development and closely co-operate with their suppliers to achieve the highest level of sustainability, bring innovative products of high quality to the market.
Austria stands out on the global arena as one of the fastest growing markets of Fairtrade and organic products. And this is a convincing proof that social and environmental issues are of significant importance and Austrian enterprises show marked results in tackling these issues.
Here is how the following Austrian enterprises that operate in the food industry integrate sustainability in supply chain and hold leading positions in terms of social and ecological development :
1. Zotter Schokoladenmanufaktur GmbH
Business activity : Chocolate Manufacturer
Sustainability: "Since 2004 Zotter has been a permanent licence partner of FAIRTRADE Austria. Zotter acquires the basic raw materials such as cocoa and cane sugar from fair trade in organic quality. Since according to Josef Zotter, "as cocoa processing company we carry the responsibility for the living and working conditions of the cocoa farmers in Third World countries. Fair trade creates opportunities for small farmers and plantation workers in the producing countries. They are able to emancipate themselves from fluctuating world market prices and establish their own self-determined existence in which child labour and environmental exploitation are foreign words.”
Website : http://www.zotter.at/en/homepage.html
2. Manner AG
Business activity : producer of confectionery
"At the end of of 2011 Manner made a far-reaching decision, which has positive effects not only on your enjoyment of Manner products, but also on another continent: from now on we buy for all Manner wafer products solely UTZ certified cocoa*! Thus we carry actively responsibility for farmers, for their families and for the ecological system in Africa - the origin of the cocoa used for the popular sweet Manner goods.”
* UTZ CERTIFIED is one of the largest sustainability programs for coffee, cocoa and tea in the world. The word UTZ has its origin in the language of the Maya, the first civilisation witch cultivated cocoa, and meant „good".
UTZ CERTIFIED is an non profit organization, which supports among others cocoa farmers, who operate sustainable cultivation of cocoa. UTZ CERTIFIED trains the farmers within the ranges of business management, social conditions of work and environmental management. This helps the cocoa farmers to work more successfully, to gain higher profits and to raise their standard of living. As a result individual families are able to send their children to school. In order to guarantee the quality of the certified cocoa the cocoa farmers and their plantations are audited regularly by independent experts.
Business activity : producer of fruit juice concentrates, vendor of specialty products and bioethanol, supplier of sugar and isoglucose
In addition, AGRANA has also committed to respect all relevant existing industry standards of conduct. For many years, this has required all of the social partners of the European sugar industry to adhere to a common Code of Conduct in terms of social development and upholding basic human rights. The European starch industry has also adopted a policy on the efficient use of natural and renewable resources as well as the promotion of sustainable development.
Sustainable development and corporate responsibility in commercial and ecological matters as well as social responsibility also constitute the principles of SEDEX (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) to which AGRANA acceded in 2009. SEDEX is an organisation of companies which have committed to strive for continuous improvement in their social-ethical behaviour and which promote this along their supply chains. AGRANA's membership is in line with the company's objective of offering customers maximum transparency in terms of corporate social responsibility.
"AGRANA’s key global advantage lies in sourcing frozen fruit directly from producers and under contractual growing agreements, which are also increasing in importance in the Fruit segment. Contract growing combined with advisory support for growers increases food safety by means of simplifying quality control and guaranteeing end-to-end traceability in the food chain, a factor which is particularly relevant in the increasing important organic market segment. In order to be able to optimise the commercial, ecological and also the social aspects of the supply chain and their traceability, AGRANA also operates its own processing plants (the first transformation step) in Argentina, Morocco, Mexico, Poland and Ukraine, where the freshly harvested fruit is sorted, cleaned and frozen. Overall, around 40 percent of the fruit processed by AGRANA either undergoes the first transformation step in the group's own facilities or is sourced from exclusive contractual partners.”
"Under the EU Sugar Market Regime, the sugar beet for the production of conventional as well as organic sugar at AGRANA’s seven sugar refineries in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania is sourced exclusively from crops grown under contract. For many years, AGRANA has attached considerable importance to providing contracted growers with advisory support based on field research.”
Business activity: producer of herbs, spices and spice mixes, high-quality vinegars, speciality vinegars, oils and dip sauces in addition to balsamic glazes
WIBERG favours certified companies: "We qualify suppliers via regular supplier audits, or we may demand a self-assessment with different focal points (for example, product safety). We routinely perform internal supplier evaluations. Business contacts spanning many years and regular exchange of information with our main suppliers contribute significantly to joint developments in product optimisation and process improvement.”
"Specifications regarding the required raw material quality are established by product design and raw materials management. Our purchasing department requests samples; orders are only made after testing and approval at the laboratory.”
Business activity: producer of chocolate coated fruits, snack mixes, crunchy snacks, sweet chocolate snacks
Sustainability: "For us, sustainable development is based on the three following pillars: environment, society and economics. A balance of these three, in our opinion, is the key to success.
Sustainability also requires the pursuit of continuous improvement. It is highly important for us to be as environmentally friendly as possible from the procurement of raw materials until the disposal. This is the reason why we prefer regional cycles.”
"All our products are gluten free, organically grown and therefore free from any genetic engineering. At Landgarten only the best quality is packed in the bags.
The fair cooperation with our partners makes these fine, organic snacks and sweets taste even better. For instance, we use exclusively Fairtrade chocolate since 2009 for every Landgarten chocolate coated product. Also, sourcing of other raw materials has been continuously converted to Fairtrade.
Our aim is to provide our customers with tasty, organic and high-quality products. Therefore, we invest a lot of time and all our experience in the production and selection of the best raw materials possible that are used with care and high dedication throughout the production process.
Business Activity : Producer of cheese varieties
Sustainability : "We personally know and look after our farmers. This personal relationship with milk suppliers is as important to us as the best quality milk.
For General Manager Gerhard Woerle, it is of the utmost importance to maintain hands-on contact with over 620 farmers. Each of these farmers supplies around 90,000 litres of high-quality milk to Woerle every year.
We apply the strictest standards to the selection of our milk farmers, and pay attention to suitable maintenance, strict feeding and fertilization regulations, consistency of natural methods and the best quality of supply.
All our farmers are located within a 50 km radius of the cheese dairy. This ensures that you can taste the freshness of the Salzburg milk in every single piece of Woerle cheese.
All our farmers are from the regions of Salzburg and Mondsee, renowned for their succulent and nutritional grass meadows. This has to be the real foundation of our high-quality milk production.”
Website : http://www.woerle.at/en/
Business activity : producer of flavoured milk drinks, cheese, yoghurt & desserts, fruit drinks, dip saucen, spreads, coffee milk, dressings
Our suppliers support us in this concept of quality and work with us to find joint solutions.
Our concept of quality also includes environmental responsibility and health & safety at the workplace. Actions taken in a crisis are duly documented.
As a manufacturer of high quality food, we are committed to complying with all legal requirements as well as implementing environmentally friendly production methods, and carefully handling all resources.”
Website : http://www.ennstalmilch.at/en/
Business activity : producer of dairy products made of goat and sheep milk
Sustainability : "We act not only for the moment; we also want to contribute long term with our work to the well of our customers, employers and suppliers. This is evident in our long standing relationships with our customers, employers and suppliers.
The existing relationships with our local farmers should be maintained in the future. The raw material is mainly influenced by the good quality, by the right animal husbandry and by the correct care of the goats and sheep. To ensure this continuity in future we regularly invest in our production and in further education of our employers - so we can assure our awarded quality
Sustainability can only be a part of our life if we protect our environment. Beside the use of organic goat and sheep milk and the support of our local farmers we exclusively use organic ingredients like fruits and herbs.”
Written by Natalie Myhalnytska