Photo: Nestlé

The Challenges of Achieving Greater Transparency

By Janet Voûte, Nestlé Vice President and Global Head of Public Affairs

NESTLÉ’S Commitment to Transparency

Voûte, Nestlé Vice President and Global Head of Public Affairs

At Nestlé we believe that actions speak louder than words. We have to deliver what we promise. We have to be transparent if we are to persuade our stakeholders, our partners, and our critics, that we are building our business in a long-term, sustainable way.

Significant step

This month we’ve achieved a significant step towards greater transparency, receiving an A+ rating from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for our annual report on Creating Shared Value. The GRI is the leading organisation in the field of non-financial reporting. It’s a non-profit organisation that promotes economic sustainability. It sets the standard for this kind of reporting and it’s tough. We are the first global food company to achieve the A+ rating.

Creating value

So what does this mean? Take a look at our Creating Shared Value report. At Nestlé we believe that for a business to be successful over the long term it must create value for society as well as for its shareholders. We call this Creating Shared Value or CSV.

More responsive

This year’s report is more comprehensive than ever. You can find information about areas we have never reported on in detail before. The GRI standard required us to work hard throughout the company to collect new data on issues like human rights, diversity and gender, climate change, biodiversity and corruption. That data is published in the report, and will be added to each year as we move forward, meaning you will be able to benchmark how we are doing in these and other areas.

Of course this wasn’t easy. It took a huge amount of time and effort to do properly. But again, let me stress, it is vital that we are transparent if we are to live up to the expectations of our stakeholders. Creating Shared Value isn’t public relations or greenwash. It is central to what we do.

Around the globe

The video below, from the consulting firm run by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, the two ‘architects’ of CSV, neatly encapsulates what it’s all about. At Nestlé we’ve embedded CSV in our core business strategies. But most importantly we implement it, wherever we do business around the globe.

We are training the farmers who supply us, helping them to become more productive, and to make their communities sustainable. In more than 60 countries, our Healthy Kids programmes teach basic nutrition and promote physical activity. We are producing affordable micronutrient fortified products for markets where there’s a need for them. Throughout the world we are producing more products while reducing the amount of water we use. CSV is real at Nestlé and our employees are making it happen.

Our responsibility

We will never satisfy all our critics but I hope the GRI A+ rating shows that we do take seriously our responsibility to create shared value and conduct our business in a sustainable way. Our report gives you the information you need to measure us against that standard. The work on preparation for next year’s CSV report is already underway and we are already looking at how we can make our reporting even better.

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