Today the world faces numerous global issues that affect people’s daily lives, such as unhealthy lifestyles, economic crisis and major environmental threats. These issues closely impact our business and value chain, as we discussed in the materiality and strategy sections. We know that what happens ‘out there’ affects our associates and customers ‘in here’ at Delhaize Group and in our stores around the world. The reverse is also true. Our footprint and sphere of influence is far-reaching, and includes:
Growth and manufacture of ingredients
Production, transport and sale of products
Daily consumption patterns of families and communities
Disposal of product waste
Our starting point
At Delhaize Group, our first formal strategy focused on sustainability was defined in 2008. Since then its profile and reach has continued to grow inside our business.
In 2010, we launched The New Game Plan, our business strategy built on three equal pillars: Growth, Efficiency, and Sustainability. For the first time, sustainability was elevated to a core strategic priority to achieve, not just a condition under which to operate. Embedded in The New Game Plan is our vision of ‘Nutritious, healthy, safe, affordable and sustainable. Together we deliver the best of Delhaize for life’. To guide delivery of this vision and strategy, a new sustainability structure was designed for 2012.
The New Game Plan aims not only to define how we run our business, but also how we fit into the complex world as a global grocery retailer. We intend to play an active role in shaping a better society for the future by proposing solutions that help address issues within our immediate control, but also by exerting influence from suppliers to consumers.
Embarking on the journey
Three years into the introduction of our initial sustainability approach, we are now poised to take the next step. The next phase involves pulling our actions together into a more ambitious strategy that leverages sustainability as part of everything we do. This has implications on how we act, what we sell and how we operate all around the world. It involves our associates, our suppliers, and our customers. Defining our renewed strategy has required us to confront challenging questions about our company and the impact it can have on people’s lives and on the future of our planet.
As we prepare to release our new sustainability strategy in the coming months, we have been looking at our footprint and asking difficult questions about the status quo of the industry and our business.
Why do consumers need to trade between what is good for them and what is good for their wallet?
Why can’t consumers rely on their supermarket to offer healthy and sustainable products at prices they can afford?
Why would sustainability be limited to only mean ‘green’ and ‘environment’ when health and wellbeing also contribute to a better community?
What if associates were highly motivated by tangible benefits from sustainability and empowered to innovate?
What if Delhaize inspires other players in the sector to follow?
We believe that successfully addressing these questions will result in a Delhaize Group with a stronger, sustainable bottom line. We are working on these challenging questions and working to validate and confirm our approach. We have the team, the business strategy and the proven successes in place to realize our ambitions.
The building blocks of our ambition and strategy involve our private brands, our waste and CO2 footprints, the safety and security of all our food supply, healthy eating (for both our associates and customers), and embracing the diversity of our company.
Each element of the strategy will have a well-defined target, which will allow us to clearly measure progress. Together, we will equate these improvements to the real impact Delhaize Group is having in the communities we serve, and the planet at large.
In the course of 2012 we will communicate internally and externally our new sustainability platform. The platform and its underlying strategy will break new ground in the sector, and we look forward to sharing it with our stakeholders and customers. As we look to 2020, Delhaize Group has the ambition and determination to become a leader in the grocery retail industry for doing well for products, people and planet.
Together, we deliver the best of Delhaize for life.