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’Time to show what we are doing’

Suiker Unie has been a sustainable and socially responsible business for many years. We launched the ISO 26000 Championship programme in May 2011 to increase the coherence of all our activities. 'Suiker Unie has already made a lot of progress in CSR,' says Hans Kröder, an international ISO 26000 expert who is assisting Suiker Unie with the programme. 'It is time to show what it is doing.'

ISO 26000 is a worldwide standard for companies to integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their organisations. Some 20 members of staff from nearly all levels of Suiker Unie are working on the programme and creating the necessary support. 'CSR covers a raft of issues,' Hans Kröder adds. 'From environmental pollution and energy savings to the way you do business in the supply chain. With so many issues, you need an internationally recognised standard so that you know everything is covered. ISO 26000 is a logical framework that introduces coherence. It centres on three issues: standards and values, CSR priorities and how to embed CSR in business processes. '

Labour market
In addition to coherence, ISO 26000 provides a framework for Suiker Unie to report on its CSR performance. 'By reporting on what it does, Suiker Unie is a more transparent business. On the labour market, for example, recruiting technical people will be more difficult in the future. New employees set great store in CSR.'

Suiker Unie will also use the Championship programme to become a CSR leader among European sugar manufacturers. 'It's difficult to say whether it will succeed,' says Hans Kröder. 'Uniform comparisons are not available. ISO 26000 has in any event given Suiker Unie a head start.'
ISO 26000 requires Suiker Unie to take an integrated approach to CSR and ask itself critical questions about its CSR policy and performance and what it wants to achieve. The answers to these and many other questions are presented in a table of relevant CSR issues that Suiker Unie can concentrate on.

Hans Kröder explains: 'It shows where Suiker Unie can intervene to make its processes more sustainable or improve its ties with suppliers and customers. It also identifies areas in which Suiker Unie stands out. These are our CSR icons. They include sustainable cooperation with growers, as exemplified by the Unitip growing programme. Another icon is the production of green gas.'
Hans Kröder: "ISO 26000 has given Suiker Unie a head start."

Where can Suiker Unie still make improvements?
'It can still make energy savings in the supply chain with growers and customers. Suiker Unie is also still at the beginning of the biobased economy. It has everything to play for.'