Sustainable growth is fundamental to AAK’s business and a key objective of our strategy. We believe that building sustainability into our everyday activities helps us achieve our vision of being the first choice for value-adding vegetable oil solutions.
All of our CSR policies and codes are based on the UN Global Compact (UNGC) of which we have been a member since 2002. To drive CSR progress, we focus our efforts within five areas: Our Customers, Our Suppliers, Our Planet, Our People, and Our Neighbours. We continuously set ambitious objectives within all of these areas based on market analyses, our stakeholders’ objectives, and our own ambitions and priorities, and we have a strong track record delivering upon our objectives.
Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relevant for all countries. With a strong commitment to sustainability, we at AAK welcomed these goals and we have incorporated them in our model for sustainable growth. Going forward, we intend to play an active role in contributing to SDG initiatives relevant to our business.
Over the years, we have established long-standing customer relationships built on mutual respect and a thorough understanding of our customers’ needs. Healthy solutions is one area of major importance both for our customers and us, and food safety is another one. We are therefore very proud that all of AAK’s production sites are food safety audited and certified in accordance with one or more internationally recognized food safety standards. In addition, 100 percent of our sites handling palm oil are RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) supply chain certified.
Ethical business conduct is another key priority for AAK and our customers. We share our ethical information and ethical audit reports through the Sedex platform.
Responsible sourcing of raw materials is another top priority among our customers and we continue to increase our focus on environmental and social challenges in the supply chain. Our Supplier Code of Conduct, which is implemented with all of our direct raw material suppliers, addresses important areas such as labor and human rights, environment, and corruption.
We have continued our relentless work in West Africa towards a more sustainable and efficient supply chain. Our Kolo Nafaso program, which started out as a project in 2009, focuses on support, interest-free micro credits, training, and trading directly with the women collecting shea kernels. The program continues to progress and more than 115,000 women are now included in Kolo Nafaso which is a 27 percent increase compared to last year. We will continue to develop this very important program focusing on maximizing the impact on the livelihood of the women and their families.
In addition to our strong engagement in the RSPO, we continue to drive the implementation of our own sustainable palm oil policy. The policy outlines our commitments on sustainable palm in general and specifically requirements for no deforestation, no development on peatlands, and no exploitation of people. There has been strong progress on the implementation of our policy over the last year, especially on our high traceability to mill, our supplier risk assessment of all suppliers, and our grievance management. This is something we’re very proud of.
Our overall resource efficiency has improved year after year and 2016 was no exception. Energy consumption, calculated per MT produced, decreased by 6.1 percent despite a strategic decision to increase the production of highly refined products which, all other things being equal, require more energy to process.
Direct carbon dioxide emissions per MT processed decreased by 4.7 percent compared to 2015, and both water consumption and water discharge, calculated per processed unit, were down by 2.2 and 6.7 percent respectively.
These great achievements have been delivered through benchmarking and sharing best practises as well as by a very dedicated and responsible global operations organization. Going forward, we will continue to minimize our use of natural resources as well as emissions.
At our production sites, Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR) remained at 0.6 with nearly half of the sites not having any Lost Time Injuries at all during 2016. We continue to focus on safety of our people. Any injury is one too many.
At our sourcing sites in West Africa, where conditions and challenges are very different, LTIR decreased significantly. This is a result of widespread safety training aiming to change the culture into a “safety first” mindset.
During 2016, first aid training has been completed at all production sites ranging from basic aid courses to training in the use of AED (Automated External Defibrillator). In West Africa, where the availability of professional assistance can be scarce, these courses have been of utmost importance.
As a global company, AAK contributes to the development of the local communities it operates in by creating jobs, paying taxes, and doing business with local enterprises. But we also strive to be a good corporate citizen by taking issues such as health and safety, diversity, labor standards, and our environmental impact very seriously.
However, we are fully aware that there is a variety of other ways to further engage actively with the local communities. I’m very pleased to see the many ways in which our employees truly engage with their local communities.
Sustainability going forward
Going forward, we will continue to incorporate and integrate new AAK production sites in our global CSR system, we will continue to set and achieve objectives within our focus areas, and we will, above all, continue to grow our business in a sustainable way.
—Fredrik Nilsson, CFO and acting CEO