Danish-based food ingredients manufacturer Palsgaard has released its 2013 CSR report, detailing a list of CSR goals and initiatives that stretch much further than many of the largest companies in its industry.
Palsgaard’s 48-page 2013 CSR Report outlines the latest steps in four key areas: energy and environment; employees; corporate governance and products, where Palsgaard has significant efforts well underway to address its impact on the environment, its people and society at large.
While it may not be the largest company in the worldwide food industry, Palsgaard is credited with inventing the modern emulsifier some 80 years ago and today provides high-quality emulsifiers and stabilisers, as well as "green" functional agents for polymers to the food and food packaging industries. As a knowledge-based company, it is using significant research and development (R&D) resources and its inventive nature to solve CSR issues, too.
Aggressive goals, CO2 neutrality and 100% RSPO-certified palm oil
Palsgaard has put the reduction of CO2 emissions firmly at the top of its CSR agenda. Most of the company’s electricity, for example, is supplied as RECS-certified green energy from newly established wind farms.
Four years ago, the company declared its most ambitious objective: to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2020. That point may seem far in the future, thus comparatively easy to achieve, but like most processing-based manufacturers, the company’s production uses a great deal of energy. The 2013 CSR report reveals that efforts to reduce emissions are on track, approximately halving Palsgaard’s total CO2 emissions since 2007.
Another highlight is the company’s determination to achieve 100% RSPO-certified palm oil in its production, combatting the consequences that growing oil palms may have on the climate, biodiversity and working conditions in south-east Asia. The 2013 CSR report indicates that, during 2015, this goal will be achieved. The company also reports increased interest during 2013 in products with RSPO-certified ingredients.
Excellent progress was also reported in relation to other key goals listed in the latest report, such as wastewater emissions, down from 1.53l/kg of finished product in 2012 to 1.39l/kg in 2013, and workplace accident frequency; down by 21% compared to last year’s reporting. Employee satisfaction was again measured, with results aligning with the European Employment Index (EEI) categorisation of "a high-level of job satisfaction".
Palsgaard is active in more than one hundred countries worldwide, an engagement that carries with it a multitude of responsibilities.
CEO Jakob Thøisen said Palsgaard lives up to the best-in-class international expectations: "In 2013, we placed particular emphasis on responsible supply chain management, aiming to have all our raw materials supplied by producers that recognise the UN Global Compact’s ten principles and conduct their businesses in an ethical manner."
The ingredients manufacturer has an eye for local communities, too. Since 2010, for example, Palsgaard Mexico has been partnering with CTDUCA, an organisation dedicated to helping children and adults with Down’s syndrome to improve their metabolism and learning abilities to have a better quality of life. This activity continued in 2013.
CSR as a competitive business
When asked whether his company’s seriousness about CSR has led to a competitive advantage in the marketplace, CEO Jakob Thøisen agreed, explaining that it makes sound business sense in other aspects, too.
Mr Thøisen added: "Naturally, these activities have provided a financial advantage in terms of energy savings and our efforts with CSR have also significantly increased the interest for our products worldwide. So it’s definitely good for business."
Including CSR as a top priority
Why is Palsgaard consistently able to prioritise CSR activities at this level? Jakob Thøisen believes that much of the answer lies in the company’s unique ownership structure.
Mr Thøisen said: "A lot of companies include CSR in their strategies primarily because they realise it’s a growing customer requirement.
"But the Schou Foundation, Palsgaard’s owner, has emphasised social and environmental aspects since its establishment in 1957. And already in 1908, long before "Corporate Social Responsibility" was conceptualised, our founder, Einar Viggo Schou, stressed the importance of being responsible and caring toward the company’s employees and their families and the obligation to extend this responsibility into society. So we have a formal obligation to do our best toward CSR and we are constantly measured on our achievements in this important area."