CEO and Chairman Interview
Reflecting on three years of our performance
2011 marks the third year of Delhaize Group's current sustainability strategy. What are you most proud of achieving since 2009?
Over the last three years we have been working together as a truly global business. So, what immediately stands out is our unbending dedication to building strong, Group-wide sustainability programs. From healthy products to the energy efficiency of our operations, we have been putting foundations in place to strengthen our performance globally.
We are also proud of our courage to create new programs, like our global goal for Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification for private brand suppliers. It's not always been easy, but we have seen outstanding examples across the business. On sustainable seafood, our bold commitments set in partnership with stakeholders have taken us to a leading position in the majority of our markets in a very short period of time.
What have been Delhaize Group's biggest sustainability learnings during the last three years?
We have always known the journey to sustainability isn't one we can take alone. Since 2009 we have developed close relationships with stakeholders to help accelerate our progress. We have learned a lot doing this and have proven the value of stakeholder engagement for the business and for achieving our goals.
As we continue to expand into new markets and grow within our current ones, stakeholder expertise is especially valuable. The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and suppliers we partner with, as well as the many peer groups we participate in, both help us adapt our Group-wide goals and identify what works best for our operating companies.
The global economic downturn has affected every country Delhaize Group operates in.
How have these changing conditions impacted on the Group's sustainability performance?
Striving to be a responsible business has always been a top priority for us. While the economic situation has put more pressure across our entire value chain, we have continued to invest in sustainability in 2011. In some key areas which deliver cost savings, such as energy efficiency, we have even increased our investments. This has helped us keep products as affordable as possible at the same time as making them more sustainable. This is important for customers because they are under increasing economic pressure too.
Of course, we have faced some tough decisions in 2011. There are a few small instances where we have had to shift some funding from sustainability goals, for example, applying Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) nutrition labeling to our European private brand products. But we have not reduced our ambition and commitment.
What's in store for 2012?
In 2012 we are embedding the new 2020 sustainability strategy throughout our business, for example, through associates' annual performance targets. This builds on our current work on sustainability and the great progress we have made since 2009. As a result we have been adjusting our internal structure on sustainability and are preparing to increase both our investments and returns here.
It is the next step on our journey that will enable us to drive more long-term growth and efficiency in a responsible way. Our associates will be at the heart of delivering this 2020 ambition and we'll be engaging them on our approach throughout 2012.
Find Out More
Ask us a question